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.

Customer Service – How Important is the Telephone?

We all know that it’s best to return a text with a text, a phone call with a call, and an email with an email. Whichever is your customer’s preferred method of communication is the guide. However, when a request is made for the “dreaded” phone call, to what extent will a business go to avoid it?

I recently represented sellers in a real estate transaction in Destin, Florida.  We sold the house fast and everything went along quite smoothly, until the closing. Ummm, until after the closing, that is.  We closed ahead of schedule. On a Friday. The title agent told my seller their check would be delivered by UPS the next day, which was a Saturday. My sellers were living in an apartment complex and did not want to have a check for a large dollar amount sitting outside their door, so stayed home all Saturday waiting for the delivery. It never came. We left phone messages and emailed three parties at the title agency to ask for a tracking number. Alas, no one got back to us.  It was the weekend, remember.

Monday at 9:30 a.m. I called the title office. They still had not returned the calls or emails from my client or me, stating they had been very busy.  I asked the representative to call my sellers, as they did not check their email much.  She sort of apologized and said she would.  When I checked my computer, there was an email from the representative to the sellers.  She had decided not to call. I then received another email telling me the seller had not understood the delivery schedule. This was addressed to me, not the seller.  The second party at the firm decided not to call my seller, either. Finally, a third representative responded to me by text asking if the issue was taken care of. I explained that it had been, but that my customers were displeased.  Then we were dropped. The property had closed, after all.

What a difference it would have made had anyone called my sellers to personally apologize for any misunderstanding. It’s one thing when a simple clarifying request is made. It’s quite another when displeased customers ask specifically for a phone call, and don’t get it.

Sometimes it’s hard to do what’s right – like facing the client with the “dreaded” phone call. But to hear a human voice at the end of the line, talking from the heart, apologizing if necessary, is the difference between stellar performance and just getting by.

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.

 

Turn Over a Sale? Do the Right Thing in Real Estate (and in Life!)

A few days ago I got a phone call from an old client.  He asked me to research a property for sale for him and the adjoining parcel, checking the zoning and sales history.  I did some preliminary investigation and discussed my findings, when he told me he actually had written an offer on this property a month ago with another agent – a friend of his.  I told him he should stick with that agent if he wanted to resubmit an offer. It was the right thing to do. He reluctantly agreed, as he felt the agent was “too busy” for him.  I followed up the next day and he was taking my advice and sticking with that agent.

Would most real estate salespeople have done this? I doubt it.

Here’s another example. I received a phone call from a buyer interested in seeing one of my listings in Santa Rosa Beach.  Quickly in the conversation, he mentioned he had looked at other houses in the area. I asked if he had an “agent”. He said he did not, but that so-and-so had shown him several houses as recently as the day before. I told him to call her. He was surprised, and protested at first, but said he would. I called the agent myself to let her know. She was in shock. She said she had tried to teach the buyer client about loyalty, but he didn’t get it. You see, she would not have been paid for her time had he purchased a home from somebody else.  Realtors work on commission.  The agent told me most agents would not have returned the customer and that she would never forget it.  She said most agents would jump at the chance to show their own listing and disregard the buyer’s previous business relationship.

Being fair, being ethical, that’s more important than making a dollar. It’s called doing the right thing.

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.

Offering on a House? How to Lose!

It’s a seller’s market on the Emerald Coast of Florida.  Real estate agents will tell you they cannot find inventory for their buyers! There are way more buyers than sellers and properties are selling almost instantly.

Instead of telling you how to WIN the house – I am going to tell you how to LOSE.  Use some of the following techniques and be sure to not get your contract accepted:

  1. Don’t have a pre-approval or proof of funds letter.  Let the seller and her agent guess if you are qualified, because you told your agent you were.
  2. Don’t offer full price or MORE.  Offer low. The seller will counter-offer yours because they don’t have other offers OVER asking (NOT!)
  3. Don’t put down a reasonable amount for earnest money. Show them how un-serious you are.
  4. Don’t use an “as is” contract.  Ask for the full repair limit, yeah – that will make you competitive.
  5. Don’t ask seller to pay only their own closing costs.  Ask them to pay everything for you. They are desperate to sell, right?

I hope you understand my sarcasm. If you are serious about buying a house or condo in Destin or the surrounding towns, don’t fiddle around.  You will likely have ONE SHOT at getting your offer accepted.  Make it strong.

 

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.

Free Market Analysis – Emerald Coast Florida Real Estate

Do you want to know what your property is worth?

SPECIAL OFFER! Free Market Analysis for properties on the Emerald Coast of Florida for the following towns and areas: Destin, Miramar Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, Niceville, Crestview, 30A, Sandestin, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Holley by the Sea.

Contact me for a custom analysis of your property value, including lots, houses, townhouses and condos. In addition, I will answer your questions on property improvement to let you know what upgrades may get you a better value, or suggestions to get your property ready to list. There is no obligation.

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

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