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.

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

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.

 

January Home Buying Season in Destin Florida

The temperatures may be dropping outside— (especially at 30 degrees today in Destin Florida!) – but for house hunters, things are just about to start heating up.

recent analysis from realtor.com found that while most people believe spring to be the hottest season for home buyers, house hunters are starting their search earlier in the year—and January has become one of the most active times of the year for potential buyers on the market for a new home.

20 out of the 100 largest metros in the US saw their highest number of listing views online in January 2019 (based on average monthly views per listing on realtor.com 2015 to 2019)—compared to just three in 2018. And according to the realtor.com team, this trend is poised to continue in January 2020.

“As shoppers modify their strategies for navigating a housing market that has become more competitive due to rising prices and low inventory, the search for a home is beginning earlier and earlier,” said realtor.com® Senior Economist George Ratiu in the analysis’ press release. “With housing inventory across the U.S. expected to reach record lows in 2020, we expect to see this trend continue into the new year.”

The Takeaway:

So, what does this mean for you? If you’re thinking about buying a home in 2020, don’t wait until spring to start your search—because as it turns out, January is the perfect season for house hunting! And, if you’re thinking about selling, it’s not a bad idea to get your house on the market before the actual Spring 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.

Do You Resolve to Spiff Up Your Destin Home in 2020?

Whether you enjoy making New Year’s resolutions or scoff at the idea, there’s something inherently motivating about seeing a fresh page on the calendar. If you don’t want to join the masses who hit the gym or vow to go on a digital diet, you may want to resolve to set some goals on behalf of your home.

Chances are, you spend a lot of time in your Destin Florida area home, so why not make sure it’s as energy-efficient, safe, and comfortable as possible? If you’re a homeowner, making some New Year’s resolutions—and then following through—may pay dividends all year long.

Take a look at four improvements that are easy to implement and won’t break the bank. In fact, some may even put money back in your pocket.

1. Conserve energy

If you’re not quite ready to install solar panels on your roof in Destin or Niceville, you can still save energy (and money) by conducting your own energy audit.

Are lights often left on in rooms nobody is in? Is electricity powering things that aren’t even in use? Commit to turning off lights in rooms you’re not using and unplugging gadgets that aren’t being used or charged. According to Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC.org), Americans waste approximately $19 billion on inactive electronics or devices every year. From your coffee maker to your laptop computer, you may be squandering energy and dollars. Give a quick look around and see where you can conserve and save.

Moving on to larger items, be sure to properly maintain your heating and cooling systems so they’re operating optimally. If you have an older model unit, you may want to consider upgrading to a more energy-efficient system to save money and enjoy a more comfortable environment.

Also, look for leaks around your windows and doors. If you find any, caulk the drafty areas or consider installing new energy-efficient windows and doors, which will help you keep heat or air-conditioning in your home where it belongs.

Installing low-flow showerheads also allows you to cut water costs at the same time you’re conserving this precious resource.

2. Do a safety check

Knowing your Emerald Coast of Florida home is safe and secure offers priceless peace of mind. If you didn’t change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in the fall, now is the time to do it. It’s also worth noting that smoke alarms have a lifespan of seven to 10 years, while carbon monoxide detectors last between five and seven years. If you’ve had yours for longer than these timeframes, it’s wise to replace them as soon as possible.

A seldom discussed, but just as real hazard, is your dryer’s lint trap. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, highly-combustible lint, which builds up in your dryer’s trap, accounts for more than 15,000 building fires per year. So make sure those are cleaned out. I can tell you – this has happened to me!

But, just in case of an emergency, you’ll want to have an escape plan with two exit routes in place. If you haven’t worked those out, make it a priority in the new year.

Do an outdoor inspection and make sure all your stairs and railings are secure. Installing motion-sensing flood lights above your garage or in your backyard can make entering and exiting your home a bit safer for you, while at the same time deterring would-be burglars.

3. Deep clean and declutter

It’s not all about safety and savings, though! Making a resolution to love where you live can make your year more enjoyable, and a good way to do that is to give it a serious cleaning.

You can check this one off your list by simply hiring a house cleaner to do it for you. (I’m a terrible house cleaner, so I hire someone to clean my Bluewater Bay home!) If you want to save the money, however, just pick a room and get going. Work in manageable increments so you don’t feel overwhelmed. If you do, take a break but don’t give up. From washing bedding and windows to deep-cleaning your appliances and even your gutters, you’ll love the results that go hand-in-hand with freshly-scrubbed spaces.

To keep your place spic and span over the course of the entire year, set some small goals that ultimately make a big difference. For example, vow to put away all your clothing at the end of each day, deal with your junk mail the day it arrives, keep an ongoing donation box handy so you’re not holding on to items you no longer need or want.

4. Plan for the coming years

The new year is a great time to take stock of what needs to be fixed or improved in the future for your Destin, Niceville, or Santa Rosa Beach house.

Could you benefit from a landscaping upgrade, new roofing, decking, or patio? How about painting or replacing furniture? If you’re outgrowing your current home, are you considering an addition?

If so, you may not be able to knock all of them off the list in the next year, but just resolving to do them and forming a plan can be worthwhile goal and achievement.

Once you have a list of what you want and need to get done, you can begin budgeting for these. From nice-to-have to the absolute necessities, prioritize your upcoming expenses so you can either start saving or looking into a home equity loan or line of credit.

Are you thinking about moving? If so, you’ll want to tackle those projects a buyer will notice, or a home inspector will surely catch sooner or later, so your home shines and fetches top dollar.

You don’t have to entirely renovate or remodel to enjoy home improvements. Start with these four resolutions, and by the end of the year, your home will be a better place to live.

By the way, if you are thinking of remodeling, let me know if I may suggest upgrades that may get you more return on invest for your Emerald Coast of Florida property!

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.