Are You Ready for a New Home? Signs It’s Time to Buy a Place

625442Unlike renting, purchasing a house is a long-term investment. As a homeowner, you can watch the value of your property appreciate over time and control any changes that are made to your home. The following information can help you determine whether this investment is right for you.

You feel ready for a commitment – When you purchase your own home, you take on the responsibility of maintaining the inside and outside of your house as well as paying property taxes. In order for the costs associated with purchasing a new home to be worthwhile, you should plan on living there for a considerable amount of time. This kind of commitment means that you should have a stable source of income and no plans to relocate in the next five to ten years.

You want to take advantage of low interest rates – One of the best times to buy a new home is when the interest rates on your mortgage loan will be low. Because you will be repaying this loan for a number of years, having lower interest rates will help you save a considerable amount of money over time. Even an interest rate difference of a fraction of a percent can equal thousands of dollars in savings throughout the course of your mortgage loan repayments.

You realize that renting is more expensive than owning – If you currently pay more for rent than the estimated monthly payments associated with owning your own home, it may be time to consider purchasing a house. Discuss with your bank the potential mortgage payments for a range of properties and add the costs of utilities and community fees to get an accurate monthly estimate.

Prudential Network Realty will help you search homes for sale and use our expertise to help you gain the most in today’s real estate market. To get started, browse our advanced property search tools and register for our My Home Finder services. You can also schedule an appointment with an experienced real estate agent by calling (904) 296-6400.

More from Ask Florida Network: Buying Real Estate in Northeast Florida, Find a Realtor, View Cecil Commerce Center Luxury Homes, Orange Park Real Estate, World Golf Village Condos, Atlantic Beach Waterfront Properties


Rethinking a Small House

609400

When shopping for real estate, the size of a home is often one of the most important factors to consider for many potential buyers. What many of those buyers don’t realize, however, is that more square footage doesn’t always mean more comfort. In fact, it may sometimes actually be more beneficial to choose a property that’s smaller. Here is a look at the concept of “living small” and how you and your family might benefit from it:

Spend Less Time Cleaning and More Time Living Families who embrace the concept of “living small” make the most of what their charming space offers. Instead of seeing less square footage as a burden on design or function, they focus on its advantages, such as less maintenance. Smaller homes are easier to leave should you and your family decide to take a weekend vacation.

Reduce Your Waste and Lower Your Bills One of the biggest advantages of living small is the reduced dependency on resources like electricity and water. Many Americans forget that their large homes carry a sizeable carbon footprint (and a large mortgage). Reducing your real estate size could be just what you need to reduce your environmental impact and your monthly bills.

Explore Creative Ways to Decorate “Living small” doesn’t have to mean “living simple.” Although many people who adopt this new real estate mentality do reduce their consumption of household accessories or furniture, they still maintain pride and a great sense of style in their home. Making a small space appear bigger is a fun challenge for any budding designer.

No matter what size home you and your family are looking for, be sure to turn to the professionals here at Prudential Network Realty to find your dream home in Northeast Florida. You can search homes for sale and use our expertise to help you gain the most in today’s real estate market. To begin

your home search with one of our realtors, call us today at (904) 296-6400.

More from Ask Florida Network: First Time Home Buyers, Cresent Beach Condos for sale, Ortega Condos for Sale, Ponte Vedra Real Estate, St. Augustine Real Estate


Contact a Realtor in Northeast Florida to Live the Good Life

601890

For many Americans, nothing sounds more pleasant than owning real estate where the sun shines bright year round. For those who live along the “First Coast,” this pleasant dream is an everyday reality, made even sweeter by the presence of beautiful nature and rich culture. Here is a look at the benefits of living in Northeast Florida:

Say Goodbye to Shoveling Snow When you’re blessed with beautiful weather, you’re also blessed with time. Those who live in Jacksonville, St Augustine, Ponte Vedra Beach, Atlantic Beach, Orange Park, Palm Coast, and other cities around Northeast Florida know that with highs averaging warmer temperatures during the winter months, there’s no end to the amount of time one can spend enjoying what the region has to offer.

Take Advantage of Incredible Beaches The beaches in Northeast Florida are among the most spectacular in all of the United States. From dining seaside in Ponte Vedra to catching the waves along Atlantic Beach, the beaches that stretch along the coast of Northeast Florida offer something special for everyone.

Spend Weekends Exploring Your Natural Surroundings Those who own real estate in Northeast Florida know that one of the biggest perks to calling this area home is the unlimited access to fun and exciting natural excursions. Those seeking adventure can explore any one of the many state parks in the area, including Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archeological Park; the majestic Amelia Island State Park, or kayak along the many tributaries that make up the “First Coast” of Florida.

Set Your Sights on Timeless Real Estate When browsing homes for sale in Northeast Florida, potential buyers are never underwhelmed by the beautiful properties that this region features. Whether it’s a seaside home in Atlantic Beach or a spacious riverfront villa on Fleming Island, the luxurious properties here help to give this corner of Florida its desirable reputation.

If you and your family are thinking about making the move to Northeast Florida, then be sure to call Prudential Network Realty.  We have the most advanced property search tools in Northeast Florida. You can search homes for sale and use the expertise of our realtors to help you gain the most in today’s real estate market. Call us at (904) 296-6400 for more information about real estate in Northeast Florida.

More From Ask Florida Network: Relocating to Jacksonville, Atlantic Beach Waterfront Homes for Sale, Ponte Vedra Beach Real Estate, South Jacksonville Beach Condos for Sale, St. Augustine Beach Luxury Homes for sale


Why You Need a Realtor to Get a Great Sale on Your Home

584564Selling a house can feel like a highly risky endeavor, but with the right tools and techniques, potential buyers will literally come knocking at your door. Here are some essential steps for securing that much sought-after “sold” sign in your front yard:

Hire a Realtor One of the first and most crucial steps to successfully selling a home is to hire a real estate agent. Realtors are up-to-date with the current state of the housing market. Their access to Multiple Listing Service databases allows them to not only gain information on important housing statistics, but also cooperate with other realtors. The combined flexibility and significantly lowered risk for dubious legal transactions make hiring a realtor a smart and cost-effective choice for anyone thinking about buying a new home.

Outline Your Goals The process of selling a home is rife with challenges and uncertainties. It is helpful to discuss your expectations with your realtor, who can advise you on the likelihood that your goals will come to fruition. Outlining home-selling plan will also enable you to perform necessary improvements around the house that could make it easier to realize your ultimate goals.

Inspect Your House Walk through your home as if you were a potential buyer. This will force you to inspect every small detail that could prevent your house from getting sold. While a realtor will be able to communicate the high selling points of your home, it is important that you note any noticeable cause for concern and have them properly addressed or repaired.

Make Your Home Marketable There are a few standard strategies to making a home more marketable. Your realtor will play a large role in attracting new buyers to your home, but you can also help raise interest with online postings or simply boosting curb appeal.

Let the professionals with over 22 years of experience help you sell your Northeast Florida home. At Prudential Network Realty, our team is dedicated to meeting your goals, negotiating desirable deals, and ultimately closing a sale. You can reach us at (904) 296-6400. Search homes for sale and use our expertise to help you gain the most in today’s real estate market.

More From Ask Florida Network: Selling your Jacksonville Home, What’s My Home Worth?, Find a Realtor

View Properties for Sale in Your Area: Arlington Condos for Sale, Jacksonville Waterfront Properties for Sale, Neptune Beach Real Estate, Palm Coast Condos for Sale, St. John’s Real Estate


Checklist for Evaluating Potential New Real Estate

582612The prospect of buying a new home is both exciting and intimidating. It is not only one of the largest investments that you’ll make, but also a potential asset to sell in the future. If you’re in the market for a new home, consider the following checklist to help you make the final decision:

Explore the Landscaping Before you set foot into a house, make sure to take a good look at the lawn. Landscaping can significantly increase or degrade the curb appeal of a house. If the front lawn looks well kept, you might want to ask how much effort goes into maintaining it. A large front lawn with beautiful green grass and trees could indicate high landscaping expenses.

Check Out the Appliances The quality of a home’s appliances can make or break your decision to buy if you realize that most of them need to be replaced. Regardless of how charming an older home is, you may want to consider the extra costs of investing in more efficient appliances. For instance, if a house runs on gas heating, you should evaluate whether it is worth switching to an electric heating system for the savings you’ll accrue in the long run.

Investigate the Structural Integrity In order to determine how structurally sound a house is, you’ll need to closely observe the walls and floors. Cracks, chips, and signs of moisture-related damage could indicate a series of concerns ranging from foundational problems to piping issues.

Consider the Neighborhood A home is often only as good as its location. It doesn’t hurt to do extra research on the neighborhood. Consider how safe and family-friendly the surroundings are. Also, find out how close the nearest schools, hospitals, and other important facilities are to your potential home.

Mind the Details Many

aspects of a house can go unnoticed, but are nevertheless worth reflecting on. Small details, such as storage space, color schemes, or the inclusion of a laundry room could make all the difference between sealing the deal and continuing your house hunting efforts.

If you’re interested in living in the Northeast Florida area, contact the real estate agents at Prudential Network Realty at (904) 296-6400. Search homes for sale and use our expertise to help you gain the most in today’s real estate market.

View Real Estate for Sale in Your Area: Cecil Commerce Center Real Estate, Ponte Vedra Beach Condos for Sale, South Jacksonville Beach Luxury Homes for Sale, World Golf Village Real Estate


Homeowners Advice: Get Ready for Fall

555787Fall is just around the corner. All homes require maintenance. To retain your home’s best value, it’s important to stay on top of projects and repairs, both large and small. Seasonal maintenance is a great way to be sure new issues are quickly addressed.

Small repairs may seem insignificant, but letting them add up over time means an overwhelming list down the road.

Take a personal inventory of repairs that need to be addressed. These could range from paver stones that need replaced in a patio to a large-scale roof replacement. Walk your home from top to bottom and make a list of issues.

Look for paint that needs retouched, tiles that need grouted, loose or scuffed baseboards, broken screens, squeaky doors, and everything in-between.

Budget and prioritize what can be addressed now, what needs a professional to fix, and what needs to wait for available funds.

Fall is also the time of year to prepare your home for Winter. It is much easier to install storm windows during temperate weather than during a blizzard!

Be sure to address each of these issues each Fall:

  • Call the HVAC guy: Your unit has been working hard all Summer during this brutal heatwave. Now is a great time to service your unit before the hard work of Winter.
  • Check and clean chimney: Dirty chimneys cause hundreds of home fires every year. Be sure to have a professional clean and inspect your chimney each Fall.
  • Clean the gutters: It’s not just about appearances, though clean gutters do look better. A clogged gutter system can back-up water on your roof and cause leaks.
  • Yard maintenance: Be sure to rake leaves and pick up downed limbs during Fall. Empty and put away flower pots. Address flower beds and put down new mulch for a clean appearance.
  • Prepare Winter Equipment: Put away your lawn mower (yay!) and service your chainsaw, snowblower, and other fun winter tools. It’s better to know now that a tool isn’t working than to discover this on a day you need it!
  • Fall is a great time to address the needs of your property…all in beautiful weather. Take an inventory of your home’s needs and be sure to follow through with proper home maintenance. Your home’s value will thank you.

More from Ask Florida Network: View Beauclerc Condos for Sale, Ponte Vedra Beach Luxury Homes for Sale, San Jose Real Estate, South Jacksonville Beach Waterfront Homes for Sale,


Why Rent When You Can Buy?

537303Buying a home now is cheaper than renting

Are you in a quandary whether to rent or to buy a home?  Good news!  According to experts at Trulia, an unbiased real estate search engine, buying a home is more affordable for most consumers than renting a similar property in an equivalent neighborhood in 98 out of 100 U.S. cities including Jacksonville and Northeast Florida.  Only Honolulu and San Francisco buck the trend.

There are many reasons that home buying is more cost-effective than renting.  Home prices are stable and mortgage interest rates are at historically low levels as rental prices continue to rise.

In Northeast Florida, the cost to rent exceeds the cost of homeownership.  The real estate research firm Reis Inc. reports apartment rents in the U.S. climbed the most in nearly five years in the second quarter of 2012 as shrinking vacancies allowed landlords to charge more.

The American Dream

Homeownership is at the core of the American Dream.  According to the latest quarterly Prudential Real Estate Outlook Survey released by Brookfield Real Estate and Relocation Affiliates Inc., owner of the Prudential Real Estate franchise network, eight out of 10 survey respondents described homeownership as very important.

“There is growing optimism about the local real estate market and, with rising rental costs, many recognize now is a good time to buy,” said Prudential Network Realty Founder, President and CEO Linda H. Sherrer.  “Along with the pride of homeownership, buying a home makes it possible to realize the advantage of tax write-offs.”

537305

Tax Advantages

Are you better off renting or buying?  The answer depends on many factors including how fast prices and rents rise and how long you stay in your home.  There are many online tools available to help consumers arrive at an answer and calculate the costs of renting versus buying a home.

For this article, we used a calculator available from Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and compared the cost to rent at $1,200 per month versus the cost to purchase a home priced at $250,000.  The inputs included a 3 percent appreciation or depreciation rate, a 15 percent income tax rate and a 30-year loan for $225,000.  In addition to the monthly expenses, the calculator estimates the tax savings you might realize from deducting mortgage interest and the equity that you earn in your home over the time you own it.  To access the calculator, visit www.PrudentialNetworkRealty.com.

Our results show it is much more advantageous to buy than rent because of the potential tax savings.  The calculator’s cost-benefit analysis shows that owning will cost $479,163 less than renting over the 30 years in today’s dollars. These amounts are estimates, and the actual costs may be higher or lower.

“There are good reasons for some people to rent,” said Christy Budnick, executive vice president of residential real estate, Prudential Network Realty.  “But owning a home can be a smart decision over the long term for both you and your community.  There are substantial economic ripple effects when a single home is bought or sold.  For example, when a person buys a home, they often hire others to do small renovation projects such as painting, installing wood floors or landscaping.  These projects put additional dollars in the economy and create jobs.”

537308

Impact on the Community

When you buy a home, you are investing in your community and its economy.  Homeownership and real estate sales energize Northeast Florida’s economy.  There are expenditures on both sides of a real estate transaction when someone buys or sells a home.  Both buyers and sellers hire service professionals, including Realtors, attorneys, home inspectors and appraisers.  Money also goes to the title company and local, county and state government taxing agencies.  Real estate transactions have a profound economic impact on the local economy.  To learn more about the value of homeownership, visit www.PrudentialNetworkRealty.com.

While there are many good reasons to buy a home, some renters may not be in a position to buy.  Rising rent prices make it harder for people to save for a down payment.  If you do not qualify, a Non Profit Credit Counseling Agency can provide credit counseling and financial education services.

Turn to a connected Realtor

For those looking to take advantage of the best opportunities in the market, Prudential Network Realty is the most dynamic and respected real estate firm in Northeast Florida.  The company’s associates are experienced, productive and results-oriented.  They have the expertise and talent to make your real estate transaction go as smoothly as possible and achieve your goals.

Connect with the best by visiting www.PrudentialNetworkRealty.com.

More from Ask Florida Network: View Anastasia Island Condos for Sale, Orange Park Waterfront Homes for Sale, Ponte Verda Beach Luxury Homes for Sale, South Jacksonville Condos for Sale, World Golf Village Luxury Homes for Sale


Real Estate Outlook Survey: Americans Are Increasingly Confident About Homeownership

537347JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (August 2, 2012) – Americans’ confidence in homeownership and real estate continues to rise according to the latest quarterly Outlook Survey released by Brookfield Real Estate and Relocation Affiliates Inc., owner of the Prudential Real Estate franchise network.  In Northeast Florida, affiliate Prudential Network Realty reports its second quarter sales are up 8 percent compared to the same period a year ago.

Similar to the national sentiment, signs of growing confidence are apparent among local residents as home prices in Northeast Florida are gaining.

According to the national survey:

  • 69 percent believe that real estate is a good investment despite the market volatility of the past few years, up 6 percent from the first-quarter 2012 survey and 17 percentage points from first quarter 2011.
  • 72 percent expressed confidence that the real estate market and property values will improve during the next two years, including a 6-point jump among those “very confident” or “confident” vs. the first quarter 2012, and a 14-point gain in this subset over first quarter 2011.
  • Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents have a favorable perception of the U.S. housing market, up from 60 percent in the first-quarter survey and 52 percent in first-quarter 2011.

“The American Dream is clearly on the mend,” said Prudential Network Realty Founder, President and CEO Linda H. Sherrer.  “Americans are feeling better about homeownership and the ongoing recovery taking place in residential real estate. Many are increasingly optimistic about their personal circumstances and, with housing affordability near all-time highs, they want to act on the opportunity.”

537384

Factors driving homeownership 

Homeownership remains the central component to the American Dream, as 78 percent of respondents said owning a home was still “very important” – the same percentage reported in the first-quarter 2012 study.  A full 98 percent said homeownership was at least somewhat important.

In addition, with interest rates at historically low levels, 96 percent of respondents at least “somewhat agree” that now is a great time to buy a home – the same percentage reported in the first-quarter 2012 study.

More than the financial reasons to buy a home, respondents placed higher priority on the emotional reasons for homeownership. “Control over living space,” “more space for family,” “safer neighborhood” and “good place to raise a family” rated higher than “a good investment,” “financial security” and “tax benefits.”

“More people are buying homes in Northeast Florida because we have it all – miles of sandy beaches, world-class sporting events, a thriving business community and outstanding schools,” said Christy Budnick, executive vice president of residential real estate, Prudential Network Realty. “Owning a home contributes to their quality of life.”

Caution remains

The survey also shows that consumers remain cautious about the real estate market and process, as a full 30 percent “strongly agree” that the housing crisis reminds them to be more careful about buying or selling a home; up two percentage points from the first-quarter 2012 survey. In addition:

  • Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of respondents indicated that financing or getting a mortgage is more challenging than it was before the market crisis, which is up from 58 percent in the first-quarter 2012 survey.
  • Among those considering a real estate transaction, 39 percent expressed concern they won’t be able to sell their current home, up 11 points from the first-quarter 2012 survey and 10 points from first quarter 2011.
  • Given the dynamics and challenges of today’s real estate market, nearly three out of four (74 percent) respondents think it is more important than ever to work with a good real estate agent for the best success in buying or selling a home (up from 71 percent in the first-quarter survey and 67 percent in first quarter 2011).

“The real estate market is improving in Northeast Florida and consumers face many choices,” Budnick said.  “Consumers should seek out a real estate professional who can help them make the best choices to suit their needs.  Our team of connected agents has the expertise and talent to make every real estate transaction go as smoothly as possible and achieve their goals.”

More from Ask Florida Network: Cresent Beach Homes for Sale, Intracoastal West Condos for Sale, Palm Coast Waterfront Homes for Sale, St. John’s Condos for sale