High demand in the Emerald Coast real estate market and low interest rates have continued to drive sales in 2018. This puts sellers in a great position to sell their property in an active market and earn equity from their investment. Buyers still have the opportunity to purchase at fair prices and receive the benefits of lower interest rates.

Here are 10 tips to help both sellers and buyers in our current market.

1. First-time buyers: Get that starter home now

And we mean now! More than half of home sales nationwide in 2017 were expected to be to first-time buyers, and mostly to the millennials (19 to 34 years old). That means competition — and bidding wars — could become fierce for starter homes. There are many ‘starter’ homes in the Destin area that are coming on the market and can be purchased at great prices and with a little sweat equity, become amazing beach homes. Santa Rosa Beach and South Walton have seen a boom in new communities offering great homes and amenities. These communities are selling out fast and building equity quickly. Grabbing a home in one of these neighborhoods could turn out to be a great investment.

Paradise Cove Pineview

Check out Paradise Cove – South Walton’s newest residential community sitting on 20 acres of picturesque property and located less than one quarter mile from the Emerald Coast Middle School, and one quarter mile from Highway 395 which leads to Publix and the beautiful Seagrove Beach.

Contact the Nathan Abbott Team, Paradise Cove’s real estate sales team, to learn more about this wonderful neighborhood – Phone: 850-724-2975  /  Email: Info@ParadiseCoveSales.com

2. Sellers: Hire the right agent

Many times, the best investment a seller can make is time spent researching agents. A bad hire can cost sellers tens of thousands of dollars and months of worried waiting.

First, look at an agent’s online marketing material and listings. Is there good photography or video? Does it “pop”? Are descriptions accurate and complimentary without seeming exaggerated? Then, look at profiles of the agents on LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media; and be sure to read web reviews. What kind of vibe is an agent sending out?

Narrow your search to three agents and interview each, ideally in person. Ask for sales-activity reports, existing listings and time-on-the-market averages, plus the requisite local comps.

Here are a list of questions you can ask potential agents to better understand how they work and if they are a good fit for you and your property – Buyer Questions to Ask Any Agent.

3. Buyers: There’s more loan money out there

Those who couldn’t get mortgages during the downturn because they didn’t have 20 percent to put down can find affordable financing again. Borrowers with lower FICO scores are now getting conforming mortgage loans.

Our connections with great local mortgage companies means you’ll have a loan officer who truly understands our market and the nuances of Northwest Florida real estate. In addition, they offer great loan packages and can negotiate the best rate for your situation, including FHA, VA and rural loans.

4. Sellers: It may be a seller’s market but…

Sellers can do several simple things to enhance appearance, increase buyer interest and boost their property’s profile:

• Selective renovations: Instead of wholesale renovations from which sellers recoup maybe 60 percent on investment, do light makeovers everywhere, with an eye on the kitchen and bathrooms. They’re far more cost-effective.
• Clean, clean and clean some more: It’s hard for buyers to picture themselves living in a dirty house. Scrub floors, baths, kitchens, windows and walls, and be sure to clean, vacuum and deodorize rugs. This is simple but effective.
• Depersonalize, declutter: Show the space, not the contents. Box up family photos, kids’ school papers and excess art, and store bulky and worn furniture. Organize your closets to make them look half empty.
• Illuminate: Think bright and cheery. Open curtains and blinds and add brighter light bulbs in dark areas. Repaint where needed but use neutral colors.

5. Renters: It might be time to buy

In many cases, rents are rising faster than home values, yet mortgage rates remain low. That, and the fact that renters now account for 37 percent of households (the highest level in 50 years), seem to indicate an imminent coming-out party for renters-turned-buyers, especially if they plan to stay put for five to 10 years after buying.

Palms of Freeport Townhomes

Palms of Freeport, located just 15 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, is a perfect example where owning your home is better than renting. This is a great investment opportunity for full-time living or as a rental unit, and there are approximately 20 units left. Just across the street from Freeport Elementary and close to the new Publix and Hwy 331, Palms of Freeport offers a great, central location.

These desirable townhomes have been renting for $1,100 per month with 100% occupancy and a waiting list! Monthly mortgage payments, including HOA fees, taxes, and insurance are only approx. $990 a month.* Own for less than what you can rent for. The last unit sold for $135,500 and prices are scheduled to increase.

Sample mortgage rates provided by:
Sue Botelho, Waterstone Mortgage
Sales Manager, NMLS#