How to be the Winning Buyer if You Are Not Local – Emerald Coast of Florida

 

I’ve seen it happen again and again. A buyer is out-of-state and has their eye on a piece of property for sale in Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville or Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.  Not being in town, they are at a disadvantage compared with local buyers who are lined up to personally view homes the moment they hit the market. Those local buyers write an immediate offer and win the sale.  Out-of-town buyers are afraid.  They want to see the property in person.  They want to see the neighborhood. They want to think about it.  They are nervous because they are not in town. And they lose. They don’t write an offer in time, or if they do, it’s too low.

It’s time to stop messing around.

Not that many homes are “hitting” the market. Inventories are down over 20% from a year ago.  There are not enough properties for sale on the Emerald Coast of Florida to meet buyer demand, thus they sell almost immediately, especially single-family homes (versus condos or lots).  Average days on market is about 30, but just a cursory look at today’s MLS hot sheet, I see days on market to pending ranging from “0” to “11”.  It seems as though Destin-Fort Walton Beach metro real estate is selling faster and faster, especially for owner-occupied residences or second homes. Real estate agents are begging other agents and sellers to list their properties. (A common solicitation email would state “I have buyers coming to town this weekend – please send me whatever pocket or upcoming listings you have up to “X” price with “X” criteria!”) If a hot property hits the market, it is normally sold within a matter of  hours.  Sellers are putting deadlines for offers to come in, as they cannot keep up with the interest – and it would not stop.

How are you, then, being out-of-state, going to win a multiple-offer bid on your perfect Niceville, Santa Rosa Beach or Fort Walton Beach home for sale?

  1. Don’t mess around.
  2. Have your pre-approval or cash proof of funds in PDF format.
  3. Have your real estate agent picked out. This should be someone who responds quickly and is experienced.
  4. Be ready to write over full price. Yes, over asking price.
  5. Know the neighborhood you are interested in. You can get automated updates for sales and listings here. Your knowledge will reduce your fear of price.
  6. Do not ask the seller to make repairs i.e. write an “as is” offer (with right to inspect).
  7. Have a short inspection period – for example, five business days. A good buyer’s agent should be able to arrange this for you. If you are confident, you can waive the inspection. That would put you in the plus column to make up for your “out-of-state” status.  That is, many sellers would prefer to sell a home to someone who looked in person, all other things being equal. They are aware that buyers who come in from out-of-town for an inspection may cancel the contract upon viewing, and what seller would want to waste time?
  8. Do not ask the seller to pay your closing costs.
  9. Consider paying your own agent (this will save the seller’s expenses on commission).
  10. Close fast.
  11. Don’t load up the contract with extra addenda.
  12. Don’t load up the contract with extra contingencies.
  13. Don’t make your sale contingent on personally viewing (see #7 above).
  14. Don’t wait for “in person” video – you may not have time.
  15. Make up your mind that you will act fast and be decisive in advance – before your “right” property hits the market.

IF – IF you really want to live on the Emerald Coast of Florida and purchase a home now, and you don’t live here, you just have to go for it. Be brave. Trust your desire.  Get the house.

 

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 short sale, pre-foreclosure, REO and traditional real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Crestview, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Okaloosa Island, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

Get Judgments Resolved at Beginning of Short Sale Process and Other Advice – Destin FL

Short sales are fewer than they used to be, but they are still around on the Emerald Coast of Florida.  I recently inquired about a short sale listing in Destin, Florida that was represented by another real estate agent. Without going into the agent specific idiosyncrasies, this seller deserved better handling of his short sale listing.

Quick points:

The agent specified that the buyer pay title insurance. Actually, in most short sales, the short sale lender will pay title insurance on behalf of the short sale seller. This added cost makes the property less attractive to a buyer, as it’s not expected that a buyer pay the title insurance for a short sale.

The agent specified that in addition to the purchase price, the buyer was to pay off the seller’s substantial judgment lien for default on a personal loan (unrelated to the sale of the real estate).  This amount was approaching $20,000.  When asked if the amount had been negotiated down with the judgment debtor, the response was it would not be “until there was an offer”. Again, that’s not often the case and not great advice to the short sale seller. In many  scenarios, I’ve had my seller negotiate down a judgment at the beginning of the listing, so there would be a more palatable amount to be paid – by the seller himself – or the buyer. Let’s use $1500 as an example – vs. $30,000?  Which is more likely to procure a sale and attract a buyer?

When there is a known judgment that may affect the ability to sell a short sale listing, face it at the beginning. I ask my potential sellers if they have any judgments or have debt in collections.  If they are not sure, I suggest we run a title search.  The cost is usually around $95. It will forestall future issues, such as dealing with liens and judgments discovered after a property has already gone to contract. A lien or judgment may interfere with a closing and may have to be paid in full prior to a successful sale. Ask your attorney for advice if you are concerned about selling your short sale real estate when you have other credit issues such as a judgment lien.

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 short sale, pre-foreclosure, REO and traditional real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Crestview, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Okaloosa Island, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

This site, Wendy Rulnick or Rulnick Realty, Inc. is not providing legal or tax advice. The information provided is for educational and informational purposes only. It is recommended that sellers considering a short sale should consult an independent legal and tax advisor for more information.

Market Update – Emerald Coast of Florida – Summer… It’s Hot!

Real estate pending sales on the Emerald Coast of Florida in August 2020 are going full throttle compared to last year and early April this yearLooking at the entire region, including Destin, Niceville, Santa Rosa Beach, 30-A, Miramar Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Navarre and Crestview, there were 20% more units under contract in the three month period from May to July 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. 2750 houses, condos, lots, townhomes and commercial properties went under contract, compared to 2289 last year, an increase of 461 sales.  Pending sales are a good indicator of the current pulse of the market, as opposed to closed sales, which show the result of activities a month or more prior.  Pending sales track where the market is going.

In addition, average sale prices for the Emerald Coast real estate market are up by 24% compared to a year ago and median sale prices are up by 15% in the Metropolitan Statistical Area. Why is the market so much in favor of the seller? There is limited inventory of properties for sale. COVID-19 has caused reticence in some owners to sell their homes, reducing the number of properties for sale. That, coupled with very low interest rates, averaging under 3%, have caused a strong demand for housing and a corresponding increase in selling price.

Where is the market going heading into Fall and Winter? Keep an eye here for the latest info.

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

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

Executive Office for Lease – Miramar Plaza, Miramar Beach, Florida 32550

Executive office for lease in Miramar Plaza at 12889 Emerald Coast Parkway, Ste. 107A, U.S. Highway 98 East, Miramar Beach, Florida 32550.
Approximately 150 square feet, this work space is elegant with ample privacy, a large hall window and glass door with shades. There are only three private offices on first floor and three on second floor, allowing plenty of room for distance from the other few lessees, who generally don’t step out of their own offices.  The atmosphere is kept well-ventilated and air conditioned.  The office is cleaned thoroughly and regularly. Masks and hand sanitizer are provided for your clients, if desired, at the front lobby desk.
This commercial shared office space for rent in Miramar Beach, Florida, south Walton County, is adjacent to Destin Florida, and the beach is at the end of the street.
Share professional space with other respected firms in a quiet, upscale atmosphere. Use the large “you mean business” conference room with flat screen monitor at your disposal. The kitchen pantry, microwave and refrigerator are yours for your executive snacks and meals. Starbucks coffee, a selection of teas and a variety of snacks are complimentary. There is a dramatic lobby space to welcome your clients.  Wi-Fi, water, electricity are included. 
The Rulnick Executive Center in Miramar Plaza is 2.9 miles west of Silver Sands Premium Shopping and 2.5 miles east of Destin Commons. Drive two minutes to the end of the street to the Gulf of Mexico beach. Have lunch in your car watching the crystal, aquamarine waters, or eat at Pompano Joe’s for a relaxing pause in your productive day.
Conference Room
Free Wi-Fi
Free Coffee and Tea
Sky-high Lobby
Hall glass 
Hall window
Shades
2 minutes to Beach
Professional Atmosphere
Fulfilling all your after-work needs, there is a plethora of shopping and restaurants in Miramar Plaza. Restaurants include Pedro’s Cantina Mexican, Chinese, Thai, and Sushi-Moto. Miramar Plaza has a variety of shops, such as Ava’s Attic, Boca Boutique, KM Jewelers, a physician and more. Call to see if your business will be a fit with this group of ultra-professionals at the Rulnick Executive Center.The executive office is $489 a month for lease.Watch the virtual tour.

For details contact Broker/Owner, landlord:

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

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

Free Home Selling E-Books for Emerald Coast of Florida Residents


Getting ready to sell your Emerald Coast of Florida property? Get your free copy of my “Preparing Your House for Sale” booklet.  My advice ranges from light bulb moments (literally) to clutter and major remodeling projects (those may need a personal look).  I can email you or mail you the hard copy magazine.

Thinking of selling “by owner”?  That’s dangerous and I wouldn’t recommend it, however, if you do, I have a booklet packed with sincere advice on how to be a “FSBO” for you.  I’ll email or mail you a hard copy (or drop it off).

Finally, if you do want to list your Emerald Coast real estate, “Wendy’s Home Seller” booklet can be yours, free. Let me know what format you want, email or hard copy.

Do you want all three home selling booklets? Email or call me today, and I’ll get them to you!

 

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

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

Emerald Coast of Florida Real Estate Makes Booming Rebound

Real estate sales on the Emerald Coast of Florida have overcome the COVID effect downturn of March and April 2020, and far exceeded the year over year sales figures compared to 2019.  The chart above illustrates the trend of pending sales each month for the areas of Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Destin, Sandestin, Miramar Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Fort Walton Beach, Navarre, Crestview, Freeport, Point Washington and Miramar Beach, Florida.

Properties going under contract increased from March 2020 through June 2020 by 654  units. That’s a 49% increase in number of pending properties, including houses, condos, town homes, lots and commercial properties.

Destin Pending Sales increased from 92 to 239 units.

Miramar Beach Pending Sales increased from 95 to 212 units.

Santa Rosa Beach, North of Hwy 98, Pending Sales increased from 63 to 89 units.

30-A Santa Rosa Beach, South of Hwy 98 Pending Sales increased from 159 to 517 units. (WOW!)

Fort Walton Beach Pending Sales increased from 222 to 270  units.

Niceville Pending Sales increased from 105 to 139 units.

Crestview Pending Sales increased from 216 units to 238 units.

Navarre Florida Pending Sales increased from 213 to 223 units.

Reviewing year-over-year real estate sales changes on the Emerald Coast, there were 2501 total properties under contract between March – June 2019. In 2020, there were 4815 units under contract during the same quarter. That’s an increase of almost 93%.  Clearly 2020 sales are strikingly improved over last year.

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.

Emerald Coast of Florida Real Estate Market – Pending Sales Increase

Real estate pending sales on the Emerald Coast of Florida in May are returning to the start of March levels, after an early April plummet. Looking at the entire region, including Navarre, Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30-A, Miramar Beach, Freeport, Crestview, Niceville, Freeport and DeFuniak Springs, pending sales of real estate were almost 96% of the earlier March count. Pending sales are a good indicator of the current pulse of the market, compared to closed sales (solds), which show the result of activities a month or more old.  Pending sales track where the market is going.

Here is a recap of the Emerald Coast pending real estate market statistics for May 1- May 15, 2020, as compared to March 1 – March 15:

Properties going under contract decreased from 790 units to 755 total units.

That’s 96% of  of the previous number of houses, condos, town homes, lots and commercial properties going under contract. It’s a great sign of buyer interest.

Destin Pending Sales increased from 51 to 64  ( +25%).

Miramar Beach Pending Sales dropped from  67 to 45  (- 33%).

Niceville Pending Sales increased from 57 to 61  ( + 1%).

Fort Walton Beach Pending Sales dropped from 123 to 108 ( – 12%).

Santa Rosa Beach, North of Hwy 98, Pending Sales dropped from 37 to 26 (- 30%).

30-A Santa Rosa Beach, South of Hwy 98 Pending Sales increased from 102 to 107 (+5%).

Crestview Pending Sales increased from 120 to 128 (+7%).

Navarre Florida Pending Sales dropped from 131 to 115 (- 12%).

The Coronavirus economic effect has impacted local real estate sales, but since the Florida re-opening began on May 4, the number of sales have continued to grow. Check back here for future analyses of the Emerald Coast of Florida real estate market.

If you find that during or after the COVID-19 crisis, you must sell your Emerald Coast real estate, consider your options. Let me know if you have any questions about real estate, whether traditional or short 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 short sale, pre-foreclosure, REO and traditional real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Crestview, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

Emerald Coast Florida Pending Sales Down, But Signs of Market Improvement

 

Real estate sales on the Emerald Coast of Florida are starting to rebound after an early April 2020 decrease. Looking at the entire region, including Navarre, Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, Miramar Beach, Freeport, Crestview, Niceville, and DeFuniak Springs, pending sales of real estate on the Emerald Coast of Florida are down overall from one to two months ago, near the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Pending sales are a good indicator of the current pulse of the market, compared to closed sales (solds), which show the result of activities a month or more old.  Pending sales track where the market is going.

Here is a recap of the Emerald Coast market statistics:

Properties going under contract decreased from 790 units to 650 total units from the first two weeks of March 2020 to the last weeks of April 2020.

That’s a drop of 18% in the number of houses, condos, town homes, lots and commercial properties going under contract.

However, it’s an increase of 31% from the first two weeks of April 2020.

Comparing March to April overall, there was a drop in total units under contract from 1336 to 1096, or 18% fewer sales.

Individual Pending Sales by area from the period of March 1 – March 15 as compared to the period between April 16 – April 30 were as follows:

Destin Pending Sales increased from 51 to 52  ( +1%).

Miramar Beach Pending Sales dropped from  67 to 45  (- 33%).

Niceville Pending Sales dropped from 57 to 55  ( – 3%).

Fort Walton Beach Pending Sales dropped from 123 to 77 ( – 38%).

Santa Rosa Beach, North of Hwy 98, Pending Sales dropped from 37 to 36 (- 2%).

30-A Santa Rosa Beach, South of Hwy 98 Pending Sales dropped from 102 to 74 (- 28%).

Crestview Pending Sales dropped from 120 to 109 (- 9%).

Navarre Florida Pending Sales dropped from 131 to 100 (- 24%).

Decidedly, the Coronavirus economic effect has had an impact on Emerald Coast real estate. but the trend is now upward in terms of new sales.  We will take a look at the market again soon.

If you find that during or after the COVID-19 crisis, you must sell your Emerald Coast real estate, consider your options. Let me know if you have any questions about real estate, whether traditional or short 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 short sale, pre-foreclosure, REO and traditional real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Crestview, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

This site, Wendy Rulnick or Rulnick Realty, Inc. is not providing legal or tax advice. The information provided is for educational and informational purposes only. It is recommended that sellers considering a short sale should consult an independent legal and tax advisor for more information.

The Spark of Trust – More Important Than a Real Estate Sale

I was referred to a potential home buyer in Destin, Florida.  He was in the construction business and had just been working in our area for a few months, coming here from another state. I could tell that English was his second language, and I listened carefully.  He told me that he had never bought a home before, but had found one online in Destin that he wanted to see. I looked it up and it was already under contract. Then, I asked him if he had been pre-qualified for a mortgage loan.  There can be stricter loan requirements for self-employed persons, and I was concerned that his local work history may not be sufficient to get approved.

He told me he had money saved up, emergency funds that he could spend.  He mentioned the full amount could be used.  Giving me pause, I said without thinking, “Do you want to spend your entire emergency funds?”

That’s when the spark of trust lit up. He responded, “I like you.” I was taken aback and said “What?”  He said, “I really like you”.  He didn’t have to explain why.

A few days later, he told me he had decided to rent first. Honestly, I was glad. My intuition told me it was the right thing to do in his situation. I didn’t make the sale. But I earned someone’s trust, and more importantly, I helped him.

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 short sale, pre-foreclosure, REO and traditional real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Crestview, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

Wells Fargo Mortgage Help – Forbearance With End of Loan Payment Deferral

COVID mortgage forbearance Wells Fargo

Some mortgage forbearance stories have a good ending. Wells Fargo, for example, is quick to respond and help borrowers who have trouble paying their mortgage due to Covid-19. In fact, they have one of the most comprehensive websites explaining the types of mortgage assistance they offer. Upon request, they will suspend your mortgage payments for three months, and potentially extend the suspension for three more months. During this time, they will not report the missed payments to credit bureaus, unless you were previously in default.

The terms of repayment of your Wells Fargo mortgage can range from the several options, aligning with the CARES Act, depending your loan type and investor.   Some examples of loan backers, or investors, are government sponsored enterprises (GSE’s) like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, VA -Veterans Administration, USDA and HUD.  Here are the options Wells Fargo lists as possible solutions after the forbearance period ends:

  1. Lump Sum Payment (if you can) to repay the missed payments at once.
  2. Repayment Plan spreading out the missed payments over a few months, as agreed. For example, if you were $4000 behind, instead of paying $1500 per month for your regular mortgage payment, you could pay $400 more, or $1900 per month, for ten months, until the suspended amount of $4000 is re-paid.
  3. Loan Modification refinancing the whole mortgage balance to add in the missed payments. For example, if you owe $100,000 and skip $6000 in payments, your new loan would be for $106,000 and perhaps your interest rate would be changed.
  4. Mortgage Deferral There are two possibilities with deferral (or deferment). The first option, for example, would be if you skipped three months of payments, your loan term would be extended for three months. So, instead of having 30 months left on your mortgage, you would have 33 months. The second option would be to have the full amount of your skipped payments payble as a lump sum at the end of your loan or when you sell the house.   So, if you skipped $5000 in payments, when you finally pay off your house or sell it, your last payment or payoff amount, would be $5000 higher. Here is a Wells Fargo deferral letter that illustrates the latter:

    Wells Fargo Forebearance Le… by Wendy Rulnick on Scribd

    If you find that you need to sell your Emerald Coast real estate, contact me to discuss your options, whether traditional sale or short 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 short sale, pre-foreclosure, REO and traditional real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Crestview, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

    This site, Wendy Rulnick or Rulnick Realty, Inc. is not providing legal or tax advice. The information provided is for educational and informational purposes only. It is recommended that sellers considering a short sale should consult an independent legal and tax advisor for more information.