Check Out Our Bright New Star!!

Introducing Nefertiti, she is our newest Leasing Agent and she loves helping prospective tenants finding homes. Nefe works diligently with her customers until they find a home that best fits their needs and budget.

Nefe has two children who are her world, they love to find new recipes to cook together and in her spare time they travel with family and friends. 

Nefertiti is excited to  work for Suncoast because  she immediately found that we are like a family. Nefe says, "Everyone is down to earth yet professional.  Most of all the Suncoast family is very supportive." Nefertiti loves to see the smile on her customers face and the excitement in their voice when they have found their prefect home. That's what keeps Nefe working very hard and continuing to strive for the best for our new residents.

In five years, Nefertiti sees herself continuing to  help others in their search for new homes.  One day, Nefe hopes to be a leader in the Property Management industry and maybe even owing her own company. We are so glad she is working for the Suncoast Family. We are confident that Nefertiti will make wonderful new relationships with all of her perspertive tenants!

You and your Fur Baby - Living in Jacksonville

Jacksonville may not rank very highly on any “Pet-Friendly Cities” lists but I have to completely disagree. I love animals, especially dogs and continue to find new ways to take them everywhere with me around town. I have two; a Great Dane named Moose and a Schipperke named Tucker. Both seem to follow me everywhere I go and there are constantly events around town to bring your pets with you.

                Jacksonville has some of the best dog parks, both free and paid for. Dogwood Park off of Butler Blvd does require a fee to visit (or you can get a membership at a great deal) but there are acres and acres for dogs to run and play, a large small dog area, wooded trails to walk in, a large dog lake, a swimming pool for the puppies and so much more. Dogwood offers classes such as obedience training or agility classes. You can also buy some locally made dog ice cream at Dogwood, my dogs absolutely love it. There are tons of free options as well: Jacksonville Beach has a dedicated dog park and Ed Austin Regional Park in Arlington features a small & large dog park with a 1.75 mile walking trail.

                I’ve also found that many restaurants and bars in town will happily welcome your fur babies in. I find that so many restaurants our dogs are welcomed with open arms and given water bowls, treats, and tons of love. The culture around Jacksonville is very dog-friendly, there are always people to be seen walking their dogs, carting them in strollers, or just holding on to their little dogs as they walk through a shop or two. If you’re thinking of moving to Jacksonville, don’t be afraid to bring your dogs or even find a new best friend at our amazing Humane Society. Remember, adopt don’t shop!

Suncoast Property Management welcomes Suncoast Realty FL to our Team of Companies!

Suncoast Property Management is proud to announce the newest member of the Family... Suncoast Realty FL

Suncoast Realty FL is our dedicated, full-service Real Estate firm that is created with the sincere intention to focus on our customers in the Northeast Florida area. Whether you are an investor or you're buying/selling your personal home, lot, or commercial property - we have the team in place to professionally and competently assist you throughout the entire transaction! 

Click HERE to see our current listings! And visit us HERE to speak to one of our amazing Sales Team members about buying and/or selling! 

Plenty to do in Jacksonville that wont break the bank!

I wish I could travel more! But because I can't, I am always looking for new and fun things to do nearby. Jacksonville is a destination spot for many people across the country, and though I don't speak for you, I feel privileged to live here. Below are some ideas to help you, your friends, your family and your guest enjoy all that Jacksonville has to offer us. You can also find a list of local things to do by clicking here.

The Cummer Museum is free on Tuesday nights from 4 to 9pm. Their art collection covers up to the 50's or 60s. Have you been to their garden? IT'S BEAUTIFUL! Totally worth the visit. 

The MOCA is free for families on Sunday's and free for everyone the first Wednesday of each month from 5 to 9pm. UNF students and BOA card holders can also visit for free the first weekend of each month. 

Have you ever been to the Riverwalk? If not, you need to go! Jacksonville offers us great weather much of the time... take advantage of it! The Riveralk is over one mile of a paved walkway right along the St. Johns River. Beautiful! 

What about the Friendship Fountain in San Marco... Have you been there? It's located just across the St. Johns River from downtown Jacksonville. It is so gorgeous and you can usually find live music and holiday events planned. You need to see it it appreciate the fountain. My words cannot articulate how amazing it is in person. 

Another Jacksonville event that is hugely popular in Jacksonville is the Art Walk. It's a monthly self-guided tour of local art. It is held 5 to 9pm the first Wednesday of each month. Artists and musicians are in the streets ... it's a lot of fun! 

 

There truly is so much more that Jacksonville has to offer. Start by visiting our Events page for more ideas! 

When you love Jacksonville and live in Clay County

As a working mother of 3 children between the ages of 3 to 9, I look forward to evenings and weekends when we get to spend time together. Attending a Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp Minor League Baseball game and enjoying some time outdoors at one of our favorite parks- Clarke House Park in Orange Park are  a couple of our favorite things to do in and around town.

If you’ve never attended a Minor League Baseball game, you’re in for a treat! It’s such a family fun environment and budget friendly! $5 per person will get you  general admission tickets and be able to enjoy a AA affiliate of the Miami Marlins! Every Friday night home game is Friday Family Fireworks where they put on a fantastic firework show after the game! Sundays are known as  “Sunday Family FUNday” and you can enjoy a game of catch with your children on the field before the game. Sundays also feature FREE face painting, balloon animals and much more directed at Fun for the Entire FAMILY! After the game, let your kids run off some energy as they run the bases at The Baseball Grounds. For more information- click here to visit the Shrimps website.

With the weather warming up outside, picnics in the park are a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon (or morning if you prefer the cooler weather). Historic Clarke House Park in Orange Park is a great place to visit. This park is more than just a playground, it’s a historic landmark! This beautiful park features a large “castle themed” playground, sand volleyball court, nature trails, gardens, lakes, pavilions and much more! Do you have a birthday party or a family event you’re wanting to hold outdoors? The park is a favorite spot for birthday parties and they have pavilions available to be rented. To find out more information about Clarke House Park and what all this beautiful place has to offer, click here to visit their website.

Written by: Jenifer Bullard of Suncoast Property Managment

Why in the World do you need Property Management Maintenance

Suncoast Property Management, Maintenance Team

Suncoast Property Management, Maintenance Team

Most of the time, as we go through our day to day lives, we don’t even think about maintenance.  What’s the old saying? “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it!” Well what if it didn’t have to break? What if we could at least reduce the amount of times things break down? Even with our own health, a simple trip to the doctor once or twice a year can help prevent illness of other complications. Well, as it turns out our homes are no different than our bodies. Changing air filters, making sure water connections are tight, making sure your HVAC closet or area is free of dust and pet hair.. even periodically cleaning the drains in your home can prevent or lessen the expense of big repairs down the road!

Most of the calls that we receive for maintenance from our residents involve plumbing. Primarily slow drains in areas such as the bathtub or various sinks around the home. While some of these issues are out the control of anyone occupying the home, a surprising number of these issues can be prevented and resolved with simple routine maintenance. For example, a slow draining bathtub! Often, the first idea is to pour Drano or some other de-clogging agent down the drain. But, did you know that your tub stopper (that thing in the tub that holds in the water when closed, lol) can be unscrewed? It is made to catch hair so that it doesn’t go down the drain. Unscrewing that and cleaning off the hair and debris that it catches is quick, effective and FREE way to clear a clogged drain. This also works for your bathroom sinks as well!

Here at Suncoast Property Management, we are always trying to come up with better ways to serve our number one customers, our residents!

Your April “To-Do” Checklist Starts Now!

Now that spring is here, it’s time for you to step out and start your spring cleaning.

Here is a list of “to-do” items that you should start now so you can relax all the way through summertime:

Test your sprinklers and irrigation system

Don’t let puddles of water be the first sign of a malfunctioning irrigation system. Take time each month to test each spigot and repair as needed. If you don’t already have an irrigation system for your yard, consider having one installed to save time and water.

Keep mosquitoes at bay

Warm weather and long days mean we’re entering mosquito season (yuck!). Take measures by regularly checking your property for standing water and emptying it. Any open containers outside your home can become a mosquito breeding grounds when filled with rainwater, so store items like these upside down or in a garage/shed.

Add more porch appeal

Clean off the porch floor, scrub down those exterior windows, windowsills and front door. Wipe cobwebs from the ceiling and high corners. Lay down a fresh doormat, and plant a pot of flowers. If you have porch furniture, clean it off and wash the cushions.

Inspect your paths/driveways

Winter can take a toll on the solidity of asphalt and concrete. Check your paths and driveways for cracks, scheduling repairs as they are needed.

Wash windows

Welcome those spring sunrays by clearing the dirt and grime from windows inside and out. After cleaning the glass, take an extra moment to wipe the window frame and sill.

Clear clutter

It’s time for that, “spring cleaning” you’ve been putting off. Create more space in your home by clearing out those unused items. If you have a lot to get rid of, hold a yard sale, or contact a local charity to schedule a pickup. If you have a lot of one type of item (like books or clothes), look for a consignment shop in your town where you may be able to sell them.

Maintain your outside decor

Keep outdoor woodwork in tip top shape by staining or resealing it each spring. Check gates, fencing, decks, railings, outdoor structures, and make repairs when they’re needed.

Keep an eye out for termites

Starting now through June, Termites run rampant. Check any openings in the woodwork around your home or any structures for that manner. If you notice any, call a licensed professional pest-control company immediately.

Make sure you do all of these things, if they pertain to you, in order to keep your home safe and maintained in the highest way possible.

Renting Or Buying A Home? Keep This In Mind.

If you’re leasing a home, you probably know this already: The past few years, rents have been going up. And up. And up. Rents have been increasing at a faster rate than home values. While rents aren’t likely to go down anytime soon, their raising rates will stay steady than spike anytime soon.

Here are top 5 predictions for the rental market this year.

  • Rents will become more affordable. Rising rents will stabilize throughout 2017, with overall U.S. rental appreciation nearly flat, around 1.5 percent. Most of the slowdown in rental appreciation is due to a surge in multifamily constructions and home developments. More supply to meet the continuing demand helps keep the market in check, which is good news for renters.
  • More millennials will buy homes. Homeownership has been falling annually since 2006, and it remains at a near-historic low. While new households are always occurring — kids move out on their own, couples split up, roommates find their own places — most of those households are rentals. This trend may soon change, however, as more millennials start getting married or having children — leading to their next goal of buying a home.
  • Populations will shift. Urban density will increase, but the suburban migration will continue. Studies are showing millennials might be thinking about upsizing, while older Gen-Xers and boomers will be downsizing and looking for walkable neighborhoods, creating more competition for urban housing areas. Low housing inventory and higher rents will continue to push renters out of the city in search of more affordable housing, and, as a result, more people will be driving to work — a reversal of a decade-long trend — as they move outside areas served by public transportation.
  • New homes will be priced higher.  All over the U.S., construction of single-family homes haven’t been able to keep up with demand, and that may not change anytime soon. The home construction workforce is shrinking, while construction wages have risen. The labor may become even scarcer as immigration policies tighten. It’s estimated that undocumented workers make up 10 to 20 percent of the single-family construction labor force, so the loss of those workers could drive up wages even higher. The combination of rising wages and high land prices has led more builders to focus on the top-tier market — but those homes are out of reach for many first-time buyers. If there aren’t enough entry-level homes to purchase, those would-be buyers will continue to rent.
  • Interest rates will rise. Economists have been expecting interest rates to go up, and the Federal Reserve fulfilled those expectations with its modest rate increase this month. As unemployment rates fall and wages continue to grow, additional rate hikes are likely. However, a new administration in the White House supporting low interest rates, can counteract that and keep them.

Whether it’s buying or leasing, Suncoast Property Management and Southern Impression Homes are prepared for any and all situations when it comes to looking for your type of home.

5 Ways to Show Your Home Some Love

Now that February is coming to a close and winter has slowly died down, it's time to show some love to the home that's kept you warm all winter.

Here are 5 ways to show your home some love.

Try those easy DIY updates you've thought about

Even if you’re not planning on selling your home anytime soon, it’s always good to try those small improvements to increase the value of your home. Plan a quick weekend project, like one of these:

  • Install a no-touch faucet in the kitchen
  • Swap those drawer handles and knobs from the ’90s with a more "up-to-date" design
  • Replace the old fluorescent light fixtures in the bathroom with something softer
  • Upgrade the frameless builder-grade mirror to a more stylish one
  • Paint the front door and shutters a vibrant color you love

These simple changes can make a huge difference in how you see and enjoy your home — and make it easier to sell when the time comes.

Buy your home something nice

Just like buying something new for yourself, purchasing something you love for your home will instantly lift your spirits.

Buy that eye-catching vintage door you’ve seen online (after carefully measuring, of course). Upgrade the curtains the previous owner left behind, buy something colorful to change the room’s look, or take the plunge and finally purchase that rug that pulls the room together.

Cultivating great style in your home doesn’t usually happen overnight, but occasionally purchasing items that make you happy will eventually result in a space you love.

Create moments in it

When you first looked at your home, you might have said something like, “This would be a great space for entertaining.” Since moving in, however, have you actually entertained in your home?

If you haven’t (or if it’s been awhile), consider hosting a potluck or a casual dinner with friends and family.

But don’t think you have to scrub the floors for three days and prepare a feast. There’s no need to get too fancy when you host — all you really need is great friends, lively conversation, and good food. Make a menu, choose the music, and hang some string lights or light some candles to create a festive atmosphere.

Save money on it

If mortgage rates are down and you’re interested in lowering your monthly payments, you might want to consider refinancing your home.

Though saving money on your mortgage is the most obvious reason to refinance, many homeowners choose to refinance so they can change from an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) to a fixed-rate mortgage. This can make payments more predictable and less dependent on how the market is doing.

Knowing that you are making the best financial decisions when it comes to your home will ultimately make you happier to be there.

Make sure it’s protected

Reviewing your home insurance policy may not be the most exciting way to spend an evening, but it’s a good way to make sure there aren’t any obvious gaps in your coverage.

Read your policy carefully. Are you overly insured? Or are you overpaying for the amount of coverage you’re getting? Remember that standard coverage often doesn’t often pay for flood or earthquake damage, so check your policy and understand what’s covered in the rare case of a disaster.

If you find areas for improvement, shop around for a new insurance company or work with your existing provider to create a plan that makes you feel more prepared and secure. Understanding the ins and outs of your insurance policy is the best way to look after your pocketbook — and it will likely help you sleep better at night, too.

A home is more than just a roof over your head — it’s a place that’s meant to be loved and enjoyed. Try some of these quick tips this weekend, and you’re sure to fall in love with your home even more.

Maintaining Your Maintenance Costs

It comes to no surprise to investors and homeowners alike that deterioration of their property is inevitable. Years pass and it’s only common sense that without proper care, these things will come back to haunt you. Whether it’s a destructive roof leak or a faulty appliance, these things can really catch anyone off guard, and even though situations like this can seem like a disaster at the time, standard insurance policies don’t cover damages or repairs that are from the normal wear and lack of upkeep when it comes to maintenance. However, the key to keeping unwelcomed costs out of your wallet is to anticipate and budget appropriately for these repairs.

A main ingredient in anticipating life expectancy in your home is to observe the hardiness of the materials that are used in the essence of the home. These factors usually determine how long the home in general will last, but the quality of the installation, intensity of use, local weather conditions, and level of typical preservation impact their longevity.

Here is a look at the typical life expectancy of commonly used products:

Life Expectancy (In Years)

Definitely, keep these lifespans in mind when replacing or considering worn-out and dated features in your home. Also note the neighborhood norm when selecting those materials. Over-improving or under-improving can impact the potential return on your investment.

Employee Spotlight: Michelle Treiber

Michelle Treiber, REALTOR®

 

 

 

 

Phone: (904) 994-1107

Email:mtreiber@suncoastpropertymanage.com

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” -Confucius

           

We want to take the time to introduce you to one of our newest employees here at Suncoast Property Management, Michelle Treiber, REALTOR®. Only starting with us in late February, Michelle has already exceeded our expectations in both work ethic and customer service.

Michelle was hired on to become a part of our amazing team of leasing agents. Chandler Janger, Suncoast’s Investor Relations Manager, sold her on the fact that the sky is always the limit around here, and Michelle couldn’t agree more. She also serves as a notary in her extra time but when she really gets a chance, spending time with family is her greatest gift. With her three amazing children, she considers cooking a passion as well as a perfect time to bond with them. She absolutely loves the outdoors, horseback riding, kayaking, as well as hiking with her pit lab (pictured).

dog-copy.jpg

When we asked how she would describe herself she said, “I’m the definition of a Virgo.” She considers herself hardworking, someone who is friendly with excellent customer service, extremely organized, and systematic (and it shows).

We also asked her what keeps her working hard and striving for the best for our tenants. She exclaimed, “I LOVE to make other people happy, since I’m a Virgo.” She truly believes one of her work’s biggest rewards is the look on her tenants’ faces when she finds them their perfect home.

If you or someone you know is looking for a home, Michelle Treiber is your answer. Her drive and tireless efforts are exactly what you need in order to find that home with Suncoast Property Management. Call or message us now to find out how to get in touch with Michelle and our other wonderful leasing agents to stop wasting your time and finally find that dream home.

3 DIY fixes that you can do yourself

Bust out the tools and roll up your sleeves. These quick repairs will have your home shipshape in no time.

Little things go wrong in a home sometimes. These issues are usually too small to call someone about, but they can be bothersome nonetheless.

Fortunately, you can easily fix these issues yourself. We’ll show you how to troubleshoot — and permanently correct — three common household problems that can occur time and again in a home.

The jammed garbage disposal

You know your garbage disposal is clogged or jammed if you turn it on and it makes a humming sound — and nothing else. Don’t force it to grind up whatever is lodged in there. Just follow these easy steps to troubleshoot the problem.

Tools needed: Flashlight, pliers or tongs, and an allen wrench)

  1. Turn off the garbage disposal or switch off the electrical circuit that feeds it.
  2. Shine a flashlight into the garbage disposal, and use pliers or tongs to pull out whatever is clogging it. Never put your hand into the garbage disposal! If you locate and remove the object right away, you should solve the problem. If not, move to step 3.
  3. Option A: If your garbage disposal has a reversal feature, run cold water into the disposal and run it in reverse. This should push up whatever is lodged in there so you can remove it. Option B: If your garbage disposal does not have a reversal feature, take the following steps.
    1. Turn off the power at the circuit breaker (if you didn’t already in step 1).
    2. Go underneath the sink and locate the hole at the bottom of the disposal. Stick the end of the hex wrench into the hole and work it back and forth in both directions. The goal is to free up the impeller blade, which may be stuck. Once you can turn the wrench completely in a full circle, you should be able to go back to step 2 and free the object.
  4. Push the reset button and run cold water through the disposal for about a minute.
  5. Turn the garbage disposal back on.

The loose toilet seat

Nearly everyone experiences a loose toilet seat from time to time. Even if you retighten the hinge-bolt nut periodically, it always seems to come loose again. Fortunately, there is an easy and long-term fix. Follow the steps below, and you’ll never have a loose toilet seat again.

Tools needed: A toilet-seat tightening kit, found in the plumbing section of most home improvement stores

  1. Remove the hinge-bolt covers from the toilet seat.
  2. Loosen and remove the nut that is holding the hinge bolt in place. Leave the hinge bolts in place.
  3. Using the tool provided in the kit, slide a washer from the toilet-seat tightening kit onto the hinge bolt, underneath the toilet. Slide it up the bolt so it’s wedged tightly into the underside of the hinge-bolt hole.
  4. Replace the hinge-bolt nut and tighten it into place. Replace the hinge-bolt cover.
  5. Repeat the process on the other side.

That should do it!

The sticking or misaligned door

Several issues may cause an interior door to stick or not close properly. Possible remedies include shimming a hinge with cardboard to realign the door, driving a long screw into the jamb to pull it in, or taking down the door and planing the edge so the door swings freely.

But before you do any of those, you might want to see if your hinge screws are loose. If they are, there’s a simple 10-minute fix.

Tools needed: Cordless screwdriver, wood glue, wooden matches or toothpicks

  1. Remove the screws from the hinge, then remove the hinge from the door or jamb (whichever hinge side is loose).
  2. Put a drop or two of wood glue into each of the screw holes.
  3. Take some wooden matches (the wood part only) or some wooden toothpicks, and put one or more in each of the holes. Wait 10 minutes, then snap off the excess wood.
  4. Reattach the hinge with the screws. It should be nice and tight!

Sometimes you can fix common household problems in a matter of minutes — and get the satisfaction of having made the repair yourself. You can do this!

February Tips For Your Home

Since February rolls is here, we’re often thinking of little ways to show our loved ones how special they are to us. Why not take the opportunity to do the same for your home? There are plenty of things you can do to show your home a little love this Valentine’s Day.

Schedule Easy DIYs Even if you’re not planning on selling your home anytime soon, it’s always good to make small improvements to increase your home’s value. Plan a quick weekend project, like one of the following:

  • Install a no-touch faucet on the kitchen sink
  • Swap those brass drawer pulls from the ’90s with a more modern design
  • Replace the old fluorescent light fixtures in the bathroom
  • Upgrade the frameless builder-grade mirror to a more stylish one
  • Paint the front door and shutters a vibrant color you love

These simple changes can make a huge difference in how you see and enjoy your home — and make it easier to sell when the time comes.

Buy it something pretty Purchase something you love for your home that will instantly put you in a great mood.

Buy that gorgeous vintage door you’ve been eyeing online (after carefully measuring, of course). Upgrade the curtains the previous owner left behind, buy something colorful and cheery to change the room’s look, or take the plunge and finally purchase that department store rug.

Cultivating great style in your home doesn’t usually happen overnight, but occasionally purchasing items that that make you happy will eventually result in a space you love.

Make happy memories in it When you first looked at your home, you might have said something like, “This would be a great space for entertaining.” Since moving in, however, have you actually entertained in your home?

If you haven’t (or if it’s been awhile), consider hosting a potluck or a casual dinner with friends and family.

But don’t think you have to heavily prepare. There’s no need to get too fancy when you host — all you really need is great friends, lively conversation, and good food. Make a menu, choose the music, and hang some string lights or light some candles to create a festive atmosphere.

Save money on it If mortgage rates are down and you’re interested in lowering your monthly payments, you might want to consider refinancing your home.

Though saving money on your mortgage is the most obvious reason to refinance, many homeowners choose to refinance so they can change from an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) to a fixed-rate mortgage. This can make payments more predictable and less dependent on how the market is doing.

Knowing that you are making the best financial decisions when it comes to your home will ultimately make you happier to be there.

Make sure it’s protected Reviewing your home insurance policy may not be the most exciting way to spend an evening, but it’s a good way to make sure there aren’t any obvious gaps in your coverage.

Read your policy carefully. Are you overly insured? Or are you overpaying for the amount of coverage you’re getting? Remember that standard coverage often doesn’t often pay for flood or earthquake damage, so check your policy and understand what’s covered in the rare case of a disaster.

A home is more than just a roof over your head — it’s a place that’s meant to be loved and enjoyed. Try some of these quick tips this weekend, and you’re sure to fall in love with your home even more.

If you’re in the market for a brand-new home, you’ve got a ton of options. Sales of new homes surged to an eight-year high in 2015, according to data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau, and single-family production is estimated to reach 840,000 units in 2016, an 18 percent increase over 2015, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Unfortunately for home buyers, new residential construction is coming at a steeper price: Last year the average price of a new home jumped to $351,000, up $100,000 from 2009, reports the NAHB.

Nonetheless, there are still ways you can save when buying a new home. It’s like shopping for a new car: You need the right strategy to nab the best deal.

Ask prospective builders these six questions in order to find the right home at the right price.

“What financial incentives do you offer for using your preferred lender and title company?”

The bad news: Production builders are often reluctant to set a precedent for negotiating sales prices. (Custom builders tend to be more flexible.)

“If a new home is listed for $370,000 and it sells for $360,000, the next buyer in the development is going to want to pay that lower amount,” says Craig Reger, a real estate broker at Keller Williams Realty in Portland, OR. However, many offer handsome incentives to buyers who use their preferred lender and title company.

Some may even knock off up to $10,000 in closing costs, says Peggy Yee, a supervising broker at Frankly Real Estate in Vienna, VA. Others will sweeten the deal by negotiating prices on finishes, such as upgrading carpet to hardwood floors.

You should still shop around and get quotes from at least two other lenders before making your decision. But don’t just pay attention to the interest rates. “You need to compare each loan estimate’s terms to make sure you’re getting an apples-to-apples comparison,” says Chris Dossman, a real estate agent with Century 21 Scheetz in Indianapolis.

“Which are the standard finishes?”

When you tour a development’s model home, keep in mind that you’re previewing a high-end version of the standard home. “The model has all the bells and whistles,” says Dossman. Therefore, you need to find out from the builder which options are standard, which options are upgrades, and what each upgrade costs.

One way to cut costs: Move into the home without an upgrade, then hire a contractor to do the work. “Builders charge a huge markup on certain finishes and products,” says Reger. “The builder might charge $4,000 to $6,000 for a high-performance air conditioner, but you may be able to get another company to install that same unit for as low as $2,500.”

Granted, opting for the latter means you’ll probably need to pay the contractor in cash. “For some people, the benefit of paying the builder to do upgrades is that they can roll the costs into their loan amount,” Reger points out.

“What are your long-term plans for the community?”

Depending on the size of the land, the builder might be planning several subdivisions. This could impact your decision to buy.

For example, let’s assume that only a few homes have been built and sold. If the developer plans to construct an additional 50 homes and you’re one of the first people to move into the neighborhood, you may have to deal with loud construction crews for several months.

There’s also the risk that the builder loses funding and another company takes over the development. Dossman advises proceeding with caution: “If the builder changes and a lower-quality builder takes over, that could affect the value of your home.”

“What are the homeowners association rules and regulations?”

Each homeowners association (HOA) has its own Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) and bylaws. Get these from the builder and review them carefully.

“I’ve seen HOAs that don’t allow storage sheds in the backyard, solar panels, or private fences,” says Reger.

In most cases, the HOA can assess a homeowner penalties for infractions, and some associations are more restrictive than others.

Also, look into when you’re required to start paying HOA dues. Many builders cover the costs until at least 50 percent of the homes in the development are sold, says Yee.

“What warranties do you provide?”

Most builders offer a one-year workmanship warranty and a 10-year structural warranty, says Reger. Make sure the warranties you receive explicitly state what is and isn’t covered, and what the limitations are for damages.

You should also receive manufacturer’s warranties on the washer and dryer, hot water heater, air conditioner, kitchen appliances, and roof.

“Can you connect me with some of your past clients?”

Always check references when vetting home builders, says Dossman. Ask past clients questions such as, “How responsive was the developer when you expressed concerns?” and “Would you use the builder again?”

Caveat: Most builders will only provide glowing references, so you should still scout out some past customers on your own. You can find these people through reviews on Angie’s List, or knock on doors of homes in the neighborhood that have already been built.

5 Things Home Buyers Need to Know As You Wait for Closing Day

The seller accepted your offer, and now you've just got to sign on the dotted line. Right?

For some home buyers, the closing day for a real estate purchase is as formal and complicated as the transaction itself. For others, it’s just a blip on the radar. Either way, there are some important things to keep in mind as you make your way to homeownership.

Your mortgage rate could expire

Mortgage rates can fluctuate daily, and the rate your bank quoted isn’t good forever. Instead, a bank will “lock-in” your interest rate for 45, 60 or any number of days. Once that lock expires, you may have to pay a higher rate.

Any number of issues can come up: open permits, illegal renovations, or other types of roadblocks might require the loan process to stop until resolution.

For example, a buyer in upstate New York learned at the last minute that a previous owner built an addition to the home in the 1970s but never documented it properly. It turns out it was so bad that it wouldn’t pass today’s requirements. The buyer had to hire an architect, re-draw plans, and document the issue before the bank approved the loan. And, consequently, he lost the rate he’d been quoted.

Don’t wait until it’s too late, and don’t assume it’s a smooth journey to the closing table. Rate-lock expiration can throw an expensive wrench into the closing process.

The mortgage process isn’t over yet

Some buyers think once they’ve completed the application and submitted paperwork, their loan is approved and ready to go.

Not so fast. Today, some lenders will verify income, assets or credit all the way up until the very last minute. Don’t make any major changes to your finances until the closing.

That means don’t apply for a new credit card, finance a new car, or take a new job without running it by your mortgage professional.

The smallest (even seemingly insignificant) change to your finances can affect your ability to be approved for a loan.

And the house isn’t yours yet

In some locations, the walk through is a formal event, and in others, it’s a checked box. Most real estate contracts provide for a walk-through up to 24 hours before the closing. Be sure to take advantage of it.

Why? You don’t want to close on the home if systems aren’t working, the seller hasn’t made the necessary repairs, or the seller hasn’t moved out.

If things aren’t as they should be, you can postpone the closing until they are.

You may need to do some homework

Once the home closes, not only is it physically yours, but also it’s completely your responsibility. In most states, the law is on the side of the buyer, and requires the seller to disclose any issues and confirm they’ve been resolved.

In others, it’s “caveat emptor,” or buyer beware. In this case, it’s up to the purchaser to double- and triple-check that the seller closes all outstanding building permits, releases all liens from the title report, and resolves any issues with the local building department, assessor or health department.

The actual closing could be very low-key

In most places, the end happens in parts, and the two parties don’t need to meet. Buyers sign their loan documents in the privacy of their home or office, and the seller shows up at the title company to sign off on the deed. It’s seamless and straightforward, and happens in the background.  Buyers wire their down payment, and sellers receive their funds electronically.

But sometimes, the buyers and sellers and lots of attorneys and title folks sit around the table for hours, passing paperwork and using calculators. The process is archaic and cumbersome. What’s worse: If the transaction wasn’t smooth, the atmosphere around the “closing table” could be pretty tense.

What can you do?

The easiest way to a smooth closing is to be on the lookout for red flags and do lots of research.

Have a solid team on your side, starting with a good local agent. He or she can refer you to necessary mortgage pros, title insurances, escrow offices, attorneys or inspectors.

Processes and customs vary by market, and customs that apply in one community won’t matter across the country, so getting as much information upfront as you can will help avoid unpleasant surprises.

3 Factors that Affect the Price of Your Move

When you're moving, the last thing you need is a list of surprise fees to further hurt your bank account.

When planning a residential move, it’s important to have an accurate idea of the final moving costs so you can set a realistic moving budget. Estimating your moving costs, however, is not always accurate.

The movers will provide you with an estimate but there plenty of other factors can also affect the final price and make your relocation significantly more expensive than anticipated.

To make a good financial plan for your upcoming move, you need to know exactly what can affect your moving estimate.

The Required Moving Services

The factor that will most affect the final cost of your move is the amount of moving help you’re going to need.

If you want your movers to take care of all aspects of your move, it will cost you a pretty penny.

But if you decide to do some of the work yourself (such as packing your belongings or disassembling your large furniture), you won’t have to pay for those services, and will be able to cut down the moving costs.

Keep in mind that any specific packing, handling, or transportation requirements you may have (like crating, exclusive use of the moving vehicle, or split pick-up or delivery) will also incur additional fees.

Sometimes, circumstances beyond your control may necessitate a specific service, regardless of whether you want to use it or not.

Poor access to the pick-up and/or drop-off location is the most common obstacle that affects the flow of a move and results in nominal fees. Here are several examples:

  • If your old home (or your new property) is not accessible to large moving trucks because of physical constraints (such as narrow roads or weak bridges), your goods will be picked up or delivered with the help of smaller vehicles. This will incur an additional shuttle fee.
  • If the moving truck can’t stop in front of the entrance to your home and the movers have to carry your items over a considerable distance (greater than 50 to 75 feet), you’ll be charged a long-carry fee.
  • If the movers have to take your goods up or down a number of stairs (or wait long for an elevator), you’ll have to pay a flight charge (or an elevator fee).
  • If some of your furniture or appliances don’t fit through the doors or along the narrow hallways in your property, you will need hoisting services (that is, movers will take your large items in or out of the home through a window). These tend to be really expensive.

Storage needs are the second most common reason for increased moving costs. If you need your belongings to be stored in the carrier’s warehouse, you’ll have to pay an additional storage fee.

And if your items have to be kept in storage for some time, because you’re unable to receive your shipment on the agreed date and time, all the warehouse handling costs will be at your expense.

You’ll also be charged extra for any idle time the movers waste waiting at your home if you’re not ready when they arrive to pick up your goods.

Timing Your Move

The specific time of year when your relocation takes place will also greatly affect the final moving costs.

It’s no secret that moving company rates are much higher during the summer — the busiest moving season— than they are for the rest of the year. So, moving off-season (anytime from September to mid-May) will significantly reduce your moving costs, and will also allow you to ensure the help of experienced moving professionals at the most convenient time for you (reputable movers are not easily available during the peak season).

Also, remember that moving rates are usually higher on national holidays and on the first/last day of a month, when many people need to move house because of rental agreements or job-related considerations.

If possible, avoid such peak periods and schedule your relocation for a day during the second half of a month when you can expect lower rates, plenty of available movers, and considerably less hassle.

As far as specific days of the week are concerned, the weekends are, of course, the busiest and the costliest. Tuesday, on the other hand, is the least preferred day for a move, so you may receive a significant discount if you decide to relocate on a Tuesday.

Moving Insurance

The basic liability coverage (60 cents per pound per item) you get for free when using professional moving services may not be enough to ensure your peace of mind, especially if you are relocating items of high sentimental or monetary value.

If you want Full Protection (under which the carrier assumes liability for the full cost of repairs or the replacement value of any lost or damaged goods), your moving costs will go still higher.

With so many factors affecting your movers’ estimate, you need to be really careful when researching your moving options and really choose what best suits you. Get three or four on-site binding estimates, compare the rates and conditions different moving companies offer, and make your pick wisely.

Southern Impression Homes is Live!!

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welcometothebeginning
welcometothebeginning

We are so happy to announce that our sister company, Southern Impression Homes, is now live! As our eagerness grows, the developments in Glenda's Meadow Phase II and Forest Hideaway are moving so fast we can hardly recognize them.

Be Sure to Follow SI Homes on all of their social media @southern_impression_homes

and check our their official website at SIhomesfl.com

A Huge Thank You From Suncoast!!

Suncoast Gives Back

As we come to the close of our “Suncoast Gives Back” food drive event, we are overwhelmed by the response from the community.

Due to the generous amount of donations given by you, we managed to acquire two large boxes full of canned goods and perishables.

We would like to thank all who have donated as well as the Mandarin Food Bank for making this possible.

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