Florida Real Estate Services – Essential – But Should You Sell?

Florida’s “Stay-At-Home” order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, limits many Destin, Niceville and Emerald Coast business activities, but allows real estate sales to continue.  Governor Ron DeSantis’ state-wide mandate requires Florida residents to  restrict their “movements and personal interactions outside of their home to only those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities.” But is it really wise to allow real estate sales transactions to continue?

Is it worth the risk to allow Realtors, buyers, inspectors, appraisers, repair persons and photographers to enter the premises and potentially catch or spread the lethal Coronavirus? Is it worth the risk to you and to others? Precautions aside (stay 6′ apart, hand sanitizer, virtual showings, etc.), should you even bother trying to sell when many buyers will not be in the market during this national crisis? (Why are there fewer buyers? Other states have “Stay-At-Home” orders, people are afraid, people are sick, there are limited monetary resources to make purchases, etc.)

There are cases, however,  when selling a Destin, Niceville or Fort Walton Beach home may still be necessary, as in emergency financial situations.  Some examples may be: the need to move out of state to care for a loved one, sell a property to garner cash funds to cover living expenses after job loss, vacant rental properties, divorce, death of a spouse, medical issues, retirement, Eglin AFB or Hurlburt Field PCS orders, etc. As an alternative to selling your house, condo or investment real estate, there may be other remedies that can help you through difficult financial situations.

The CARES Act addresses relief for federally backed mortgages, including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, VA, HUD, USDA, FHA (including reverse mortgages) with a means to defer payments for three months to a year.  There is a foreclosure moratorium for a year and a halt on pending foreclosures for 60 days as of now.  You will not be charged late fees nor negative credit reporting. If you call your lender and ask for a mortgage payment deferral, some large lenders will immediately tell you that you may skip your payments and they will be added to the end of the loan, extending the loan term. For example, if you have 40 months left on your mortgage, and you are allowed to skip three months, you will then have 43 months left on your loan term.  Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Ally Bank are some examples.  In fact, even if you have a commercial mortgage, like I do with Wells Fargo, they will also defer your commercial mortgage payments.

Some mortgage lenders, however, are stating you must pay any missed payments back in one lump sum, at the end of the forbearance period.  Obviously, this won’t be feasible for most borrowers who have lost their jobs, significant income and savings during the Coronavirus crisis. In these cases, lenders may offer you a loan modification or agreement to spread out the past-due payments. According to Florida Realtors, this is incorrect, and most lenders will soon offer deferment of missed payments to the ends of the loan terms.

If you find that during or after the COVID-19 crisis, you must sell your Emerald Coast real estate, consider your options. Contact me to explore whether it’s realistic and how you may accomplish it, if you decide it’s your best course of action.

Reach out to me with any questions about short sale or traditional sale now or in the coming months.

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-259-0422
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

www.shortsales-emeraldcoast.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Crestview, Santa Rosa Beach Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

New Florida COVID-19 Real Estate Addendum – Destin FL

 

Coronavirus affects Destin and Niceville Florida real estate contracts

How could the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic affect real estate transactions in Florida?  Could there be delays in closing and inspections?  Possibly. Therefore, Florida Realtors created a new contract addendum which can extend specific deadlines of the transaction.  The COVID-19 addendum says: “The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic may cause unprecedented impacts to real estate transactions, including but not limited to travel restrictions, self-imposed and/or governmental required isolations, potential closures of offices and institutions required to fund, close and record real estate transactions, and action or inactions of a homeowners’ or condominium association.”

For example, if a buyer were flying to VPS airport to close on their new home, but at the last minute, air travel from their state or into Florida were blocked, that could delay a closing.  If the buyer’s home was to close first, but his state shuts down the title companies, that would affect closing.  Or if his buyer on his home could not close due to being ill with the virus. If a seller of a Destin property had Coronavirus and was self-isolating in the property, it could disrupt both inspections and the closing.  Businesses and entities that are necessary to close include lenders, title companies, attorneys, insurance companies, inspectors, county departments, like the Clerk of Court, and on and on. We don’t yet know to what extent real estate will be affected.

The Florida COVID-19 real estate contract addendum is here:

Florida Coronavirus Real Es… by Wendy Rulnick on Scribd

If you are considering selling your Emerald Coast real estate and are concerned about how the COVID-19 coronavirus may affect your sale, please contact me. We will walk through scenarios and precautions to help you decide “if, when, and how” you can accomplish your sale.

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-259-0422
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells traditional and short sale real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Crestview, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

Economists Discuss Covid-19 and the Housing Market – Destin FL

Three Reasons Why This Is Not a Housing Crisis

Three Reasons Why This Is Not a Housing Crisis | MyKCM

In times of uncertainty, one of the best things we can do to ease our fears is to educate ourselves with research, facts, and data. Digging into past experiences by reviewing historical trends and understanding the peaks and valleys of what’s come before us is one of the many ways we can confidently evaluate any situation. With concerns of a global recession on everyone’s minds today, it’s important to take an objective look at what has transpired over the years and how the housing market has successfully weathered these storms.

1. The Market Today Is Vastly Different from 2008

We all remember 2008. This is not 2008. Today’s market conditions are far from the time when housing was a key factor that triggered a recession. From easy-to-access mortgages to skyrocketing home price appreciation, a surplus of inventory, excessive equity-tapping, and more – we’re not where we were 12 years ago. None of those factors are in play today. Rest assured, housing is not a catalyst that could spiral us back to that time or place.

According to Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at Realtor.com, if there is a recession:

“It will be different than the Great Recession. Things unraveled pretty quickly, and then the recovery was pretty slow. I would expect this to be milder. There’s no dysfunction in the banking system, we don’t have many households who are overleveraged with their mortgage payments and are potentially in trouble.”

In addition, the Goldman Sachs GDP Forecast released this week indicates that although there is no growth anticipated immediately, gains are forecasted heading into the second half of this year and getting even stronger in early 2021.Three Reasons Why This Is Not a Housing Crisis | MyKCMBoth of these expert sources indicate this is a momentary event in time, not a collapse of the financial industry. It is a drop that will rebound quickly, a stark difference to the crash of 2008 that failed to get back to a sense of normal for almost four years. Although it poses plenty of near-term financial challenges, a potential recession this year is not a repeat of the long-term housing market crash we remember all too well.

2. A Recession Does Not Equal a Housing Crisis

Next, take a look at the past five recessions in U.S. history. Home values actually appreciated in three of them. It is true that they sank by almost 20% during the last recession, but as we’ve identified above, 2008 presented different circumstances. In the four previous recessions, home values depreciated only once (by less than 2%). In the other three, residential real estate values increased by 3.5%, 6.1%, and 6.6% (see below):Three Reasons Why This Is Not a Housing Crisis | MyKCM

3. We Can Be Confident About What We Know

Concerns about the global impact COVID-19 will have on the economy are real. And they’re scary, as the health and wellness of our friends, families, and loved ones are high on everyone’s emotional radar.

According to Bloomberg,

“Several economists made clear that the extent of the economic wreckage will depend on factors such as how long the virus lasts, whether governments will loosen fiscal policy enough and can markets avoid freezing up.”

That said, we can be confident that, while we don’t know the exact impact the virus will have on the housing market, we do know that housing isn’t the driver.

The reasons we move – marriage, children, job changes, retirement, etc. – are steadfast parts of life. As noted in a recent piece in the New York Times, “Everyone needs someplace to live.” That won’t change.

Bottom Line

Concerns about a recession are real, but housing isn’t the driver. If you have questions about what it means for your family’s homebuying or selling plans, let’s connect to discuss your needs.

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-259-0422
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Crestview, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

 

Mid-Bay Musings

It dawned on me today driving across the Mid-Bay Bridge that I end up in a reverie each time I cross it.  During my morning or evening commute from Bluewater Bay to Destin, I go through a similar mental routine.  First, my eyes gaze at the water of Choctawhatchee Bay. Is it dark and grey, like today, reflecting the cloud-laden sky, is it a deep blue, dotted with whitecaps during a choppy day, or is it a blue-green, with sailboats and speedboats zig-zagging about? After the water and the sky, I glance at the horizon. If it’s near sunset, such dazzling colors can appear, from a burnt-siena to fiery orange or violet and yellow, that it’s almost a hazard to driving. Who hasn’t tried to snap a photo of a dusky sky (as a passenger) crossing the Mid-Bay Bridge? Occasionally, at night, the moon and stars and planets put on a different show.

Coming south to Destin, I look for the American flag at Legendary Marine. The pole is 150′ tall, towering over the building and is a landmark nowadays. I think they have at least three versions. One is enormous, it looms over the horizon, the other two are smaller. I look at the flag to see which direction the wind is blowing and how strong. On a rare day, the flag and pole can look as one, with no wind.  The water then is a perfect mirror.  Near the top of the bridge, my mind goes to loved ones. I may call my husband, or my brother, or a friend. Invariably, when I call my husband, I’ll say “I’m at the top of the bridge” or “I’m about at the toll booth”.  I am usually listening to Sirius XM and depending on my mood, I change the station as I approach Niceville, home, or Destin – work, gym and fun.  It’s relaxing and also preparatory, depending on which direction I am going. Crossing the Mid-Bay Bridge takes perhaps 12 minutes.  That’s enough time for a pause and a meditation.

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-259-0422
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Crestview, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

Real Housewives’ Decor Tips – Just for Fun

How Overpricing Your Destin Home Affects Your Bottom Line

 

Even though there’s a big buyer demand for homes in today’s low inventory markets in Destin, 30A and Niceville, it doesn’t mean you should price your home as high as the sky when you’re ready to sell. Here’s why making sure you price it right is key to driving the best price for the sale.

If you’ve ever watched the show “The Price Is Right,” you know the only way to win the game is to be the one to correctly guess the price of the item up for bid without going over. That means your guess must be just slightly under the retail price.

When it comes to pricing your Destin area home, setting it at or slightly below market value will increase the visibility of your listing and drive more buyers your way. This strategy actually increases the number of buyers who will see your home in their search process. Why? When potential buyers look at your listing and see a great price for a fantastic home, they’re probably going to want to take a closer look. This means more buyers are going to be excited about your house and more apt to make an offer.

If you look at the chart above you see how the market dwindles for highly overpriced homes.  If a house is overprice by 15% of market value, the buyers looking at it dwindle to 10%. If a house is priced just under market value, then there is a 75% – 90% buyer exposure.

When this happens, you’re more likely to set up a scenario with multiple offers, potential bidding wars, and the ability to drive a higher final sale price. At the end of the day, even when inventory is tight in the Destin, 30A and Niceville real estate markets, pricing it right – or pricing it to sell immediately – makes a big difference.

Here’s the other thing: homeowners who make the mistake of overpricing their homes will eventually have to lower the prices anyway after they sit on the market for an extended period of time. This leaves buyers wondering if the price drops were caused by something wrong with these homes when in reality, nothing was wrong, the initial prices were just too high.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about selling your home this year, let’s get together so you have a professional on your side to help you properly price your home and maximize demand from the start.

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-259-0422
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Crestview, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

 

What Is Your Real Estate Agent Doing Behind the Scenes? Destin, Florida

Top Home Decor Trends for 2020 – and they are simple

It’s officially February 2020. And with the new year comes a host of new design trends that will define the look and feel of interiors in 2020 (and beyond).

But what, exactly, are those design trends?

recent article from Forbes.com spoke to design experts to get their insights on the interior design trends they predict will be big in the upcoming year. Some of the biggest interior design trends set to hit in the new year include:

  1. Forgoing trends for unique, one-of-a-kind design. Interestingly, one of the biggest design trends of 2020? Bucking trends all together. Expect homeowners to forgo trends in favor of more unique design elements to create more custom, one-of-a-kind interiors.
  2. Patterns. While solid color palettes will always have a place in interior design, expect a variety of patterns to work their way into interior designs—with mixing patterns being all the rage.
  3. Contrasting ceilings. Taking a nod from art-deco design, expect bold, contrasting ceilings to take center stage in 2020.

So, what does this mean for you? If you’re thinking about selling your Destin, 30A or Niceville home, it’s important to stay on top of design trends; that way, you know what buyers want—and can stage your home accordingly.  Want to learn more? Download my FREE Booklet on how to prepare your home for sale and for top dollar.

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-259-0422
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Crestview, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

Predictions for 2020 and 2021 Real Estate Markets – Freddie Mac

Man’s hand signing the document

Since we are still in the early stages of the Emerald Coast of Florida real estate market in 2020, what predictions do we have from Freddie Mac for the coming year?  How will interest rates track, and will home sales still grow along with prices for the Destin, Niceville, 30A and overall markets?

In a recent housing article outlining their market forecast, Freddie Mac projected a positive view for the real estate market in 2020, and into 2021. “With low interest rates, modest inflation and a solid labor market, the U.S. housing market continues to show strength. Our forecast is for the U.S. housing market to maintain momentum over the next two years,” they state in the publication.

Some of their housing market projections were:

  • Interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages will drop slightly, from 4 percent in 2019 to 3.8 percent in 2020
  • Home sales will hit 6 million in 2019—but continue to rise, hitting a projected 6.1 million in 2020 and 6.2 million in 2021
  • Home price growth will slow, from 3.2 percent in 2019 to 2.9 percent in 2020 and 2.1 percent in 2021

The Takeaway:

What does this mean for you?  If you are in the Destin, Niceville and 30A real estate markets, it looks like a strong two years are coming up.   Call me for a more detailed analysis of  your particular real estate situation and your property’s “micro-market” and let’s discuss your goals and how we can accomplish them.

Getting ready to sell? Get my FREE GUIDE to preparing your home for the market.

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-259-0422
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Crestview, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

When Is the Best Time to Sell Your Destin Florida Home?

When it comes to selling your Destin, Niceville or 30A  area home, you want to make sure you list and sell at the right time. But the “right time” can vary from person to person. What might be the perfect time for your neighbor or friend to sell might be too early—or too late—for you.

So how, exactly, do you know the best time to sell for you? In a recent video, the team at Realtor.com explained five key factors to consider when determining the best time to sell, including:

  • Getting ahead of the competition. While many home sellers think spring is the best time to sell, listing your home from December through March can help you get ahead of the competition—and help your home stand out to buyers.
  • Your local market on the Emerald Coast. Obviously, there are national trends in the real estate market that you want to pay attention to—but not all areas follow those national trends. The military PCS market makes a difference for those relocating to one of our area bases, such as Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field, and Duke Field.  The resort rental market in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach and Fort Walton Beach is very strong in the Spring, but it’s harder for buyers to see properties if they are on the rental market and occupied. Before you decide to list your home, condo or lot, make sure you dig deep and reach out for advice on the right time to sell for you.
  • Mortgage rate trends. When mortgage rates drop, more buyers hit the market. So keeping an eye on interest rates can help you anticipate when more people might be looking to buy, and you can use that information to determine the best time to sell.
  • The condition of your home. Making minor repairs before you list your home can make a huge difference on how fast (and how profitably) you sell. So before you list your home, make sure to take stock of any potential issues and make any necessary repairs.
  • Personal preparedness. The only person who can determine the best time to sell your home is YOU—so before you put your home on the market, make sure you’re ready and it’s an ideal time in your life for you to make a move.

The Takeaway:

When it comes to selling your home, there’s no right or wrong answers or “perfect” time to sell. But these factors can help you determine the best time to sell for you, your family, your home, and your life.

 

Download my FREE GUIDE on preparing your home to sell.

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-259-0422
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Crestview, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.