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
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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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5 Home Mends To Make Before The Holidays

As winter approaches, the colder weather is now a set back to the options you have when fixing up your home. More than likely, you have a very limited time before the family starts to arrive and with all the work that needs to be done around the house, stick with the minor tasks before the holiday festivities begin.

If you're new to the party hosting role, or if this isn't your first rodeo, these tips will ensure that your family gathering will go as smoothly as you hope it will.

Lighting the way

Now that the time has fallen back an hour, it's important that the pathway to your door is clean and illuminated.

If you have a larger front yard, focus more on the front of the entryway and the path that leads up to it. Porch lights and any near lighting should be checked as well as any shrubbery that is blocking the walkway.

Whenever you host your party, the blinds should be open on the front windows so guests can see and feel the warmth of your home. It's a great way to create a sense of welcoming.

TIP: a cheap and easy way for lighting your walkways and paths are solar lights. The sun does the work for you!

 

Take care of the basics

Cleaning. Even if you're unable to do a head to toe cleaning before your party, you will definitely need to have all the floors cleaned before the first guest steps into your home.

TIP: If you have carpeting, it takes a minimum three days before your carpets are fully dried from a carpet cleaning.

 

Brighten up the bathroom

If you just can't seem to get that grime out of your grout, there IS an inexpensive and non-toxic way to get rid of it: Spray some full-strength hydrogen peroxide, let it sit for 10 minutes, and then wipe clean. DONE!

next, adding a few flowers, holiday decorations, or pictures on the wall will add a little bit extra pizzazz to your bathroom.

TIP: Quickly de-clog your slow-moving sink drain with a Zip-It. This tool looks just like a giant zip-tie. You work it into your drain and it then pulls up your hair clogs - all the other debris stuck in your sink will come up with it.

 

Double check those kitchen appliances

Obviously, your kitchen appliances are the backbone to your holiday party, whether its a family dinner or cocktail party. You want them to be ready and fully functional.

Check that all the stove burners work. Clean the oven if you haven't in a while.

Clean out the refrigerator, make sure that both the fridge and freezer are running at ideal temperatures.

See that the dishwasher is also in working order. You can easily clean it with a cleaner that you run through a cycle.

TIP: Sharp knives make food prepping a big meal a whole lot easier. Make sure all the kitchen knives are newly sharpened.

Kid-friendly

If your home is welcoming to children, you will guarantee that the parents will have a good time as well.

If you happen to have kids that are around the same age as your young guests, all the better. If not, consider adding little touches that will make the parent more comfortable and relieve the kid of his/her boredom.

Some ideas to get you started:

  • Make a spare room into a nursing/changing area.
  • Toddlers or younger children will want to be near their parents, so it's a good idea for them to be set up near a corner of your living or dining room with toys, books, or tablet for watching cartoons, maybe even a few pillows and throws.
  • One really good strategy for older kids are to turn the dessert course into an activity. For example, you can bake a huge batch of sugar cookies in holiday shapes, and then put different colors of icing or sprinkles on them. It lets the kids (and adults) go crazy with decorating their own cookies.

TIP: If you don't have any children, or if they are older, don't forget to kid-proof your space. Put anything expensive, breakable, or unstable away. Do baby-proofing, if necessary. That way you and the parents can relax and not have to worry about safety hazards.

 

Hopefully these ideas and tips will give you some relief for holiday entertaining, and ensure that you and your guests will relax and enjoy each other's company this season.

7 Ways to Lower the Cost of your Homeowners Insurance

When it comes to Homeowners Insurance, Remember these discounts and cost drivers as you shop for your new home.

  1. Year of Construction

As a general rule, as a home gets older, the more it costs to insure/upkeep. Homes built after 2002 receive discounts based on the face that 2002 was the date of the most recent building code changes.

  1. Construction Type

A wood frame house will cost about 25% more to insure than a comparable concrete block house.

  1. Roof Shape

A significant discount is available or having a hip shaped roof, due to its superior wind resistance.

  1. Wind Mitigation Credit

Have an inspector perform a Wind Mitigation Inspection, which looks for construction features that promote wind resistance. Depending upon the results of the inspection, this can result in savings of upwards to 30%!

  1. Secured Community Credit

Some companies offer credits for living in a gated community, a community having security guards, or even for a living on a cul de sac.

  1. Monitored Alarms

Monitored fire and burglar alarms will earn you some credits. It might be as little as $25 or as much as $100 per year.

  1. Fire Protection Class

A house within 5 miles of a fire station and les than 1000’ of a fire hydrant will cost less to insure than a comparable house outside those distances.

With all these things in mind, you should always take into consideration these, what seem to be minor, oversights in homeowners insurance.

The 6 Red Flags for Homeowners Insurance

When purchasing a home, a serious thought should go towards insuring your new place for those unexpected emergencies and disasters. So with that in mind, these 6 things make it harder and more expensive to insure your home.  

1. Age of the Roof

Many companies will not insure a home with a shingle roof over 15 years old (some go to 20 years). A tile roof will raise red flags at 30 and a metal roof at 50.

2. Poly Pipes

Make sure the house is not plumbed with polybutylene plumbing, used in the 70’s and 80’s. No insurance company wants to insure a house with poly pipe.

3. Federal Pacific Electrical Panel

Federal Pacific Stab-Loc brand electric panels are a potential fire hazard. Most companies will not insure a house with one.

4. Aluminum Wiring

Used in home construction from 1965-1973, it was later discovered to be a fire hazard as the system ages.

5. Swimming Pool?

Not a problem – but a diving board or slide is. And either a screen enclosure or six foot fence with a self-locking gate must enclose the pool.

6. Know the Flood Zone

Just before closing, the mortgage company will do a Food Zone Determination. If the house is in a Special Hazard Zone, flood insurance will be required. You don’t have to wait to find out.

Be sure to call or email Suncoast Property Management if you have any questions regarding your home or if you would like more information on these red flags.

Move-In Checklist for Renters Relocating to a New City

apartment-for-rent-via-rentcafe Image courtesy of rental website RENTCafé Jacksonville

Moving to a new apartment in a new city can be an intimidating and stressful experience, but it doesn’t have to be! Consider the following move-in checklist for renters relocating to a new city:

Before the move-out date:

Schedule the big day with a reputable moving company. Do your research, search online, and ask around for referral for moving companies with good reviews.

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At least a month before you move, contact your utility providers to either transfer or end services at your old apartment. Be sure to return any equipment that belongs to cable or internet providers to avoid being billed later on. For a seamless transition in services at your new rental apartment, schedule installation a few weeks ahead of time.

Stock up on packing materials. The last thing you’ll want to worry about is having enough tape, boxes, and other essential materials when you’re packing. An even better tip: color coordinate when packing. Take it from someone who’s moved 5 times so far (and I’m not sure I’m done), it will be much easier to unpack when you know all the boxes wearing the green label go in the bedroom, and all the yellow ones go in the kitchen. It’s one way to ensure you won’t have to dig through your decorations or kitchenware to find the blue pair of sandals you want to wear to work on Monday.

Decide what stays and what goes. If you are moving across the country and starting fresh, you may not be able to bring all of your furniture. Make a list of what items you will take with you and which items are no longer of use. You can donate any unwanted belongings to a charity, such as Salvation Army.

After you’re moved in:

Unpack room by room. To avoid becoming overwhelmed with a lot of boxes to unpack, take it one room at a time. Not only will this help you to focus on each room, it will help you to avoid a cluttered mess of open and half-unpacked boxes.

Find a school for your child. If you’re a parent, you’ll need to find an ideal school for your children to attend. If they are transferring midyear, you'll have more than likely already found a school for them. Otherwise, do your research online or ask your new neighbors about what schools their children attend. Also, be sure to visit the new school and meet the staff before the big first day.

Find an awesome takeout joint. Craving some Pad Thai or pepperoni pizza? You’ll need to know the numbers of the places that serve delicious food for when you’re starving after all that unpacking! Search online for the best food establishments (look for reviews!) or better yet, ask one of your new neighbors!

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    Image courtesy of dreamstime

Have any other cool tips for renters relocating to a new city? Leave a comment!

Looking To Save Money On A Home? Now Is The Time!

Still looking at leasing a home? Now is the time to make a deal!

Assuming you have the flexibility to pick a time of the year to move, the first thing you need to decide is what is more important to you: saving as much money as possible or having a lot of options to choose from.

Most prospective tenants tend to move between May and September. This is not surprising when you think about the fact that young people start or graduate from college during this time, younger kids are out of school on summer break, and the weather is generally a lot nicer when it comes to moving your household from one location to another.

Because of this, there is more turnover in rental units during this time of the year as compared to most any other time of the year–which means you may have a wider selection of units to choose from than at other times of the year.

The flip side is that there may also be greater demand from renters vying for those rental units during the summer than at other times of the year. This may mean that you have to act more quickly in making a decision about a rental so as not to lose it to another interested renter.

If you’re looking for a deal on an apartment, winter is generally the best time to find a new place to live. Apartment turnover is much slower during the winter months, so while you may have fewer units to choose from, property managers may be more likely to cut you a deal to fill their vacancies.

In addition to doing your apartment search during the off-season, you’ll generally get a better deal on an apartment in markets that have greater supply than demand. Coincidentally, Suncoast Property Management have plenty of homes for you to choose from with dozens of options and areas around Jacksonville to choose from. Contact us when you need you're ready to find both the right home and the best deals!

10 Home Security Tips for First-Time Homeowners

Congratulations! You bought your first home! But first, before you get caught up in decorating your spaces or planning that housewarming party, it’s important to make sure that your new home is safe and secure before anything. New homeowners are easily vulnerable to the security risks since they are just learning about their new home and neighborhood. Get a jump-start on educating yourself with the 10 home security tips for first-time homebuyers.

 

  1. Aim to be an informed resident of your neighborhood before even moving in. Always assess the security situation before you buy.
  2. Take your neighborhood for a test drive. Drive around the neighborhood during the day and at night. This allows you to gauge the happenings of your new neighborhood at different times of the day and week.
  3. Do your research for the area’s crime rates — for both property and violent crimes. Even the safest neighborhoods are not immune to crime.
  4. Meet your neighbors. New homeowners should get acquainted with their neighborhood and neighbors. Talking to your neighbors about neighborhood crime and safety will provide a sense of the kinds of security precautions needed in your home. Getting to know your neighbors also leads to an increased awareness of trends in criminal behavior in your neighborhood, thus reducing the risk of being a victim.
  5. Perform a home security audit. After you’ve moved into your new home, inspect all of the home’s entry points and identify any outdated or malfunctioning locks. Specifically looking at locks to windows and rear doors, as well as your exterior and garage lights. And don’t forget to re-code your garage door opener. There also may be a need for a thorough home audit, cautioning new homeowners that many break-ins are by people who have had a chance to scope out your home.
  6. Identify your local emergency services. Once you’re aware of the kinds of crimes that occur in your area, determine the proximity of emergency services to your neighborhood — and then work this information into your security and safety plans. Furthermore, after neighborhood watch members are trained on what to do when suspicious activity is seen, they should know who to contact and what information should be provided when reporting crimes to authorities.
  7. Focus on prevention. Even if you decide not to get a home security system, you can still address home security issues. Showcasing valuables through open curtains and discarded packaging on the street. Add secondary blocking devices to sliding glass windows and doors so they can’t be easily forced open. Additionally, secure your garage. If a garage door is left open when you leave the house, your belongings and family become vulnerable. New homeowners to consider installing a garage door that can be controlled remotely via a smart home app. First-time homeowners should be especially mindful of who enters your home, including service vendors, delivery persons, contractors, and even friends of your children.
  8. Shop around. The [home security] industry has a history of aggressive sales tactics, so it’s more important than ever to find a provider you feel comfortable working with that can offer advice and guidance without pushing a product. Assessing your family’s specific goals for a security system is key. Use a full smart home or security system, noting that they allow you to rely on cameras to keep an eye on your home’s surroundings and flag any unusual movement inside.
  9. Don’t rule out DIY systems. You can purchase a wireless security system without paying for installation or monthly monitoring. If the alarm is activated, it triggers a loud siren, which is good enough to scare most burglars away. The best part of any security system is the sign in the lawn advertising that you have a security system. Many burglars will bypass your home due to the sign alone.
  10. Consider financial benefits. Beyond the security benefits alone, a home security system also often brings you a home insurance discount of up to 10 percent. A reduced insurance rate is not a universal rule, however, and any possible deduction will vary by insurance provider. In addition to potential home insurance discounts, take into account that some home security systems help homeowners conserve energy costs, as they can be integrated with thermostats and outlets, and monitored remotely.

 

It’s all about preparedness

Ultimately, proper home security precautions stem from research and preventive actions. Take a critical look at your new neighborhood, home, and lifestyle to best determine your family’s specific security needs.

Hurricane Safety Checklist

As Hurricane Matthew approaches Jacksonville, Suncoast Property Management wants to make sure that you, your family, and your home are safe and prepared for any and every situation that may arise. Hopefully you've already avoided the rush and last minute scrambling to the local supply and grocery stores but if you failed to do so, go through this checklist taken from Hurricansafety.org to make sure you haven't forgotten anything.

Water

  • Store water in plastic containers such as soft drink bottles and gallon jugs. Avoid using containers that will decompose or break, such as milk cartons or glass bottles. A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Hot environments and intense physical activity can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers, and ill people will need more.
  • Store one gallon of water per person per day.
  • Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person (two quarts for drinking, two quarts for each person in your household for food preparation/sanitation).

Food

Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food (foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking, and little or no water). If you must heat food, pack a can of sterno, which is a essentially canned heat. Select food items that are compact and lightweight.

Include a selection of the following foods in your Emergency Supply Kit:

  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables
  • Canned juices
  • Staples (salt, sugar, pepper, spices, etc.)
  • High energy foods
  • Vitamins
  • Food for infants
  • Comfort/stress foods

First Aid and Non-Prescription Drugs

Most First Aid Kits should include:

  • (20) adhesive bandages, various sizes.
  • (1) 5″ x 9″ sterile dressing.
  • (1) conforming roller gauze bandage.
  • (2) triangular bandages.
  • (2) 3 x 3 sterile gauze pads.
  • (2) 4 x 4 sterile gauze pads.
  • (1) roll 3″ cohesive bandage.
  • (2) germicidal hand wipes or waterless alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • (6) antiseptic wipes.
  • (2) pair large medical grade non-latex gloves.
  • Adhesive tape, 2″ width.
  • Anti-bacterial ointment.
  • Cold pack.
  • Scissors (small, personal).
  • Tweezers.
  • CPR breathing barrier, such as a face shield.

Common Non-Prescription Drugs, such as:

  • Aspirin or nonaspirin pain reliever
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Antacid (for stomach upset)
  • Laxative
  • Activated charcoal

Tools & Supplies

  • Mess kits, or paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils
  • Emergency preparedness manual
  • Battery-operated radio and extra batteries
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Cash or traveler’s checks, change
  • Non-electric can opener, utility knife
  • Fire extinguisher: small canister ABC type
  • Tube tent
  • Pliers
  • Tape
  • Compass
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic storage containers
  • Signal flare
  • Paper, pencil
  • Needles, thread
  • Medicine dropper
  • Shut-off wrench, to turn off household gas and water
  • Whistle
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Map of the area (for locating shelters)

Sanitation

  • Toilet paper, towelettes
  • Soap, liquid detergent
  • Feminine supplies
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses)
  • Plastic bucket with tight lid
  • Disinfectant
  • Household chlorine bleach

Clothing and Bedding *Include at least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person.

  • Sturdy shoes or work boots
  • Rain gear
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Hat and gloves
  • Thermal underwear
  • Sunglasses

Special Items

Double check that people that have particular needs such as infants and the elderly will have the necessities they need to perform daily tasks such as:

For Baby

  • Formula
  • Diapers
  • Bottles
  • Powdered milk
  • Medications

For Adults

  • Heart and high blood pressure medication
  • Insulin
  • Prescription drugs
  • Denture needs
  • Contact lenses and supplies
  • Extra eye glasses

For Pets

  • Do not leave your pets behind.
  • Securely fasten a current identification tag to your pet’s collar and carry a photograph of your pet. It’s important to include the phone number of a friend or family member on the tag so anyone who may find your pet is able to reach someone who knows you.
  • Transport pets in secure pet carriers and keep pets on leashes or harnesses.
  • Call hotels in a safe/host location and ask if you can bring your pets. Ask the manager if a no-pet policy can be lifted during the disaster. Most emergency shelters do not admit pets.
  • Call friends, family members, veterinarians or boarding kennels in a safe/host location to arrange foster care if you and your pets cannot stay together.
  • Pack a week’s supply of food, water and other provisions, such as medication or cat litter.
  • Do not wait until the last minute to evacuate. Rescue officials may not allow you to take your pets if you need to be rescued.
  • Keep a list of emergency phone numbers (veterinarian, local animal control, animal shelters, Red Cross, etc.).

Possessions and Documents

  • Keep these records in a waterproof, portable container:
    • Will, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds
    • Passports, social security cards, immunization records
    • Bank account numbers
    • Credit card account numbers and companies
    • Inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone numbers
    • Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
    • Store your kit in a convenient place known to all family members. Keep a smaller version of the supplies kit in the trunk of your car.
    • Keep items in airtight plastic bags. Change your stored water supply every six months so it stays fresh. Replace your stored food every six months. Re-think your kit and family needs at least once a year. Replace batteries, update clothes, etc.
    • Ask your physician or pharmacist about storing prescription medications.

Giving Credit When Credit is Due!

Here at Suncoast Property Management, we strive and work hard everyday to make sure you get the service you deserve, and Kim McPhee is a prime example of that. Recently, Kim received a well deserved thank you card that we couldn't help but show.

We are honored to have Kim McPhee as part of our Leasing Team and are proud to have someone represent Suncoast in such a way that makes us strive to work even harder and prove to you that we deserve your business!

Suncoast Attends NARPM Convention in Tampa!

On September 21st 2016, Suncoast Property Management had the honored privilege to attend the Tampa Bay's NARPM (National Association of Residential Property Managers) convention.

Gretchen Kornutik and Chandler Janger attending the first day of NARPM education classes

Gretchen Kornutik, Acquisitions Manager (pictured left), and Chandler Janger, Investors Relations Manager (pictured right), both of whom are vital to Suncoast's day to day operations, attended educational enhancement classes that ranged from marketing techniques to the current laws and regulations for Property Management.

It's vital to Suncoast Property Management that our employees are incorporating the latest developments and trends when it comes to serving you. In order for us to handle your property properly, we stop at nothing to provide you with the highest quality of care.

If you would like to know more about the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM), check out their official site.

If you would like to learn more, or are interested in in renting or investing in a home visit us at Suncoast Property Management or email Chandler Janger, Realtor® now.

What you need to know about home buying

When it's time to begin the process of buying a home you'll most likely come across homes mostly listed by real estate agents. However, there are still homes available that are for sale by owner. Although buying a for sale by owner home seems easier without invoking a real estate agent, this isn’t necessarily true. Here are some points to keep in mind when you’re looking at a home for sale by owner.

Sellers work well with agents

Knowledgable home sellers know that most buyers work well with a buyer's agent, even being able to compensate for their time.

If an opportunity crosses your path with a for sale by owner, ask an agent to make the initial contact. Most likely they can still work for you and get paid for their efforts.

Don't think any less of the home differently

The main thing to keep in mind is that you will meet and see the owner from time to time while dealing with their home.

Try to get past the awkwardness of meeting with the owner personally and focus on getting that dream home. Use all the tools at your disposal, especially your agent, and be ready to ask for time alone in the home if you need it.

The Laws still apply

If the law stipulates that the seller has a duty to disclose problems, inspect the home, or perform any repairs, the owner must cooperate.

The problem some sellers have with going solo is that they aren’t familiar with real estate processes or procedures. Or they want to do it their own way.

Trust your instincts and your agent’s judgment if you think the seller is neglecting a duty or not allowing you to do your due diligence.

Even if the home is great, it might not be the right opportunity for you. If something doesn’t feel right, it might be best just to move on.

The Price may not be right

Homeowners who list their home themselves tend to share one thing in common: They reject local agents’ opinions about their home’s value. Sellers who are unable to emotionally detach from a home or who don’t have a solid plan post-closing, fall victim to overpricing.

Sometimes, when they fail to sell solo, they enlist the help of an agent, and get the home on the market at the right price. Why? Because when it comes time to get serious, sellers often want representation.

But if you love a home, and the price is off, move on to the next, whether listed by owner or agent.

A home for sale without an agent isn’t off limits. Ask your agent about the listing, and be open to seeing it and treating it just like any other opportunity you or your agent finds.

A good real estate pro should tell you up front that they could represent you in any sale. Go in with your eyes wide open and know that, just like any negotiation, it may or may not work out.

As a renter, are you ready to take the next step?

As a renter you know the obvious steps like creating a budget or saving up for that down payment, but take these 5 steps into consideration before moving into your dream home.

The real price of homeownership.

As a renter, we are use to paying a one time rental fee that covers us on our monthly housing payment. As a homeowner, there are four main factors that go into our payment: principal, interest, taxes, and insurance.

Principal, as we know, pays into the loan balance each month. While the interest, is the fee for borrowing the money.

Taxes are essentially the property taxes, which is based on the area you live.

Insurance, which is chosen by you and usually agreed upon by the lender, assures lenders that the home will be covered in case of any type of disasters.

If you decide that you want to go the condo route, the additional cost of homeowner's association fee (HOA) come into play. Which covers routine maintenance to the general common area of the condo neighborhood.

Homeowner tax benefits.

The mortgage interest and property taxes reduce your taxable income and are deductible when you file your tax return. These are huge helpers when it comes to lowering the cost of homeownership.

Study the Buying vs Renting math.

Although you focus on the principal,interest, taxes, and insurance to a rental payment, make sure you take a look at the tax benefits for homeownership costs and rent costs.

Find the right mortgage for your budget & timeline.

A lot of us don't have the 20% to put down on a home, but there are mortgages that require as little as 3% down. However, anything less than 20% requires you pay for mortgage insurance, which is a considerable percent to your loan amount, which isn't even taxable.

It's all about the credit score.

Your credit score is key when it comes to get the best mortgage with the lowest rates. Lenders are always looking for the dependable on time payer. So more credit accounts are better to establish a good credit history.

Regardless of your situation Suncoast Property Management has any and all options for when you are ready to buy a home, or maybe continue leasing. Get in touch with us to find out more and see our available homes!

Top Leasing Agent for August 2016: Chris Kirk

2016 has proven to be a big year for Chris Kirk. Throughout this year alone, Chris has managed to help dozens of people find the perfect home. More specifically in August alone, Chris gone out of his way to help more than 19 people secure their dream home with Suncoast Property Management and has received numerous positive reviews, which makes him easily the Top Leasing Agent for August 2016!  

chris-kirk

Chris Kirk is originally from Yulee, Florida. He is an Army veteran that served mainly in Fort Richardson, Alaska. Although Chris loved serving his country, he is glad to be back and call Jacksonville, Florida his home.

Chris chose real estate because it gives him the flexibility to spend every moment he can with his kids. It also gives him the ability to work with different people everyday and constantly receive the satisfaction he gets when his customers find their home.

For any of your Real Estate needs or if you are in need of leasing a home, contact Chris Kirk who can get you where you need to be!

Chris Kirk, Realtor®

Phone: (904) 527-9945

Email: ckirk@suncoastpropertymanage.com

Hurricane insurance and what you need to know

Tropical storms and hurricanes can cause major property damage. If you live in an at-risk area, be sure your home is protected.

Peak hurricane season runs from mid-August to late October and in light of current events, here's what you need to know.

As a homeowner..

Like any responsible homeowner, you’ve got a standard homeowners insurance policy. And even though most policies offer a wide range of protections, hurricanes may only be partially covered within those policies.

When purchasing a home insurance policy, you want enough dwelling coverage to completely rebuild your home if it is destroyed by every and any untimely disaster. Remember, this is the cost to rebuild your home, which isn’t the same as what you originally paid to purchase it.

As a renter

If you live in an apartment or condominium, your building is likely covered by your landlord’s policy. It’s up to you, however, to purchase protection for the belongings in your apartment.

The perils covered by your policy depend on your specific policy and provider. Generally, wind, lightning and hail damage — all common during hurricanes — are included as covered perils. Water damage, however, can be a much different story.

Flood insurance is a little "extra"

When it comes to water damage, matters can get a little complicated in regards to home and renters insurance. Standard home insurance policies often include some coverage for water damage, like if a pipe bursts, for example. But if your home is damaged by flooding, you’ll be in trouble without a flood insurance policy.

With hurricanes bringing powerful storm surges and excessive rain, flooding is common.

According to the National Flood Insurance Program, just a few inches of flood water can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. According to the program’s website, FloodSmart.gov, lists hurricanes as a common but often overlooked cause of flooding.

"Special" hurricane deductibles

Suppose a hurricane hits your house, causing major wind damage. Now you’ve got to file a claim, but you might find out your policy treats hurricanes differently than other disasters. In fact, it might even have a special deductible for them.

A deductible is the amount you agree to pay out-of-pocket toward a claim. Common deductibles are $500 or $1,000. The deductible has a correlating relationship with your premium. All other things being equal, higher deductibles generally result in lower premiums. However, be sure you can afford your deductible if you need to pay it.

Hurricane and wind deductible details and percentages vary depending on your provider and the state you live in.

Additional coverage gaps

Besides flooding, there may be other coverage gaps lurking in your home insurance policy. For example, you may not have enough protection for your personal items. Contents coverage is what protects the items in your home, but it has limits — usually 50 to 70 percent of the insured value of the house.

The best way to make sure the value of your possessions doesn’t exceed your coverage limits is to compile a home inventory — a listing, complete with photos and any receipts you might have, of your possessions. In addition to helping you determine the value of your possessions and whether you need more contents coverage, a home inventory can help speed the claims process.

However, there’s another potential problem. Some policies limit payouts for certain high-value items such as jewelry or artwork. Talk to your provider about scheduling endorsements to fully cover such items.

It's always best to be prepared

Don’t wait until a storm is in the forecast to think about insurance. Call your insurance provider now and get to know the details and limits of your policy.

Throughout hurricane season and beyond, you want to have peace of mind that your home is fully covered.

9 Signs it's time to update your bathroom

Has your washroom worn out its welcome? Looking outdated? Maybe it's time to bring it to life and update one of the rooms you use everyday but never think of that much.

Not camera friendly

“It’s weird how a picture can show what you can’t see with your own eyes,” says Angela Hurd of Short Story Renovations.

She recommends photographing your own bathroom. People can become blind to the discord that goes unseen. From a mismatched color to a cluttered counter.

Outdated colors

A funky color scheme can be one of the most noticeable signs that it's time for a change. Whites, grays, and black palettes will add an element of timeless elegance to any space.

The current trend has people coming back to “that white, timeless look, be it a very modern-style white or something with a little more traditional flare.”

Confusing layout

An awkward bathroom layout is another sign that it’s time for an update. Odd arrangements, such as a toilet directly next to the bathtub, have been typical in bungalow style homes and houses built in the 1920s thru 1940s, when plumbing was a new phenomenon.

A possible idea is installing a separate water closet. It can give a sense of refinement to the room when the toilet isn’t sitting out in the middle of the room.

It smells like a bathroom?

By replacing a toilet’s wax seal, fixing that persistent sink leak that is building up mold, or adding a better ventilation system to a windowless bathroom can all be smart fixes for a "fresher" experience.

Leaks

When brown water stains appear on the ceiling below the bathroom, it’s most certainly time to make repairs and update. Take the opportunity to put in modern fixtures that can conserve water and condone to your style.

Poor lighting

If you’re either squinting cause of the brightness by your lights that are overhead or it’s so dim you can barely find yourself in the mirror, that’s an issue. Better light fixtures and brighter light bulbs may be the first step on your path to a simple bathroom redo.

Styles from the past

If you have wallpaper or popcorn ceilings still hanging around from decades past, update your bathroom immediately.

Wallpaper is making a comeback, so think about trying it in a new way.

Low storage capacity

Can’t store all the things you need in the bathroom? It's time for action!

Install that larger vanity or add small shelves above the toilet. You could even knock out a wall and steal a little space from another room to create a linen closet.

Moving on

If you’re not interested in fixing up your bathroom for yourself, do it for your home’s next tenants. A fancy new washroom can add just the right "it factor" to put you over the top to potential buyers.

How Overpricing Can Cost You

It may seem like you are giving yourself a little room to work with, but be careful. You may just be turning off buyers to begin with.

Pricing a home for sale is a difficult task. Every home value falls within a range, and it takes a certain skill to determine the exact value of the property.

If priced competitively from the very beginning, a home will sell at the higher end of the value range. Obviously, the longer it stays, the lower it'll land in that range.

The Battle Over Price

Homeowners typically have a very limited perspective on the real estate market, especially since their only concern is based on one home: their own.

On the other hand, agents understand their local markets daily. They possess a great understanding of current market conditions because they work with buyers, view homes, and have first-hand experience on what sells.

Agents know that homes that are priced right and show well will sell in good times and bad.

First impressions make or break your home

The market typically responds to a new listing in the first few weeks, so do everything you can to make it attractive to buyers right from the start. Price your home right, and take all of your agent’s advice about cleaning, de-cluttering, painting and prepping, and your home should sell without incident, and for top dollar.

List at the wrong price or with the home not at its best showing condition, and you’ll leave a poor first impression on the market. As time passes, a listing starts to lose its momentum as newer, more competitive homes come up for sale. As the number of days on the market increases, interest in your home decreases, and the listing becomes stale.

Next phase: price reduction

A price reduction eventually occurs after a few weeks or months of inactivity. If the seller doesn’t price the home within closer range of their competition of what the buyer perceives the value to be at the time, the seller has to come down in price. Often, they'll drop down, but still not enough.

Over time, the home will eventually get into the right price range for the market, and a buyer will jump on the opportunity. But they will probably attack the seller by coming in with an offer far lower than they would have, had the home come onto the market at the right price.

Once sellers lose the momentum of being new on the market, they’re at a disadvantage when it comes time to negotiate.

Risk of the market changing over time

What’s worse is that the overall markets can start to decline over time. A seller may list in March to a healthy market, but their odds of making a top-dollar sale fall as inventory piles up, the economy slows, interest rates rise, or any number of factors come into play.

Come September time, the value range of the home is lower than it was in March. A change in market conditions is a risk a seller takes by pricing it way too high.

Final advice to sellers

If you are serious about selling your home and have a game plan and motivation to move on, take pricing very seriously.

If you and your agent disagree about the price, but not by a lot, it’s worth trying the higher number. But have an upfront plan to reduce the price quickly, and use that price reduction as a marketing activity.

The market will respond positively to a seller who shows they are serious about selling. Here at Suncoast, we take the next step in placing that home on the market when selling isn't going your way and renting is the desirable option. Get in contact with us when you decide that your best bet is choosing us!