Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!


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Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

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You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

June 30, 2020

3 Decor Tips For Working From Home During COVID-19

The sky's the limit for cloud-based documents and files. Remote working is on the rise due to COVID-19 and social distancing. The ranks of independent entrepreneurs are growing as well, due to COVID among other reasons. For many, home is a place to live and work.

Photograph of a home office to illustrate, "3 Decor Tips For Working From Home During COVID-19".Here are three elements to consider for your work-from-home space.

1 - Pick your workspace

Pick a bright spot. Daylight inspires!

Will you be having clients drop in? Aim to choose a spot near an entranceway, apart from your intimate living spaces.

For tax purposes, this spot can be a dedicated room, or a section of a room—as long as there's a clear division between your working and living space. Other storage areas in the home, or partitioned-off space that's fully dedicated to keeping business items, is also square footage to count in the deduction.

Take pictures each year that clearly show the partitions and the business use of the space. Keep your photos with your tax documents.

2 - Furnishing your space

Decorate mainly as you would if your workspace were in a corporate building. Keep your desk, professional items, and office-appropriate décor in the space. Don't have a playpen (unless your business is daycare) or a dining table in your designated office space.

Bookcases, wall hangings, mirrors, and framed art all look good, and dampen noise from outside your workspace. Succulents or crocus bulbs can make excellent office plants and uplift the mood of your work area.

Protect your health while working at home by using an adjustable (sit-stand) desk. Does that sound too industrial for the look you demand at home? Never fear. Gorgeous, adjustable desks that complement your existing furniture do exist on the market. With a little searching, you'll find yours.

Related article: 7 Ways to Make Small Rooms Look Larger

3 - Take your tax deductions

Calculate your home office percentage. If your home amounts to 2,000 square feet and your office space covers 500, declare 25% as the percentage. The deduction may not exceed your year's net business profit. 

For smaller home office spaces, the IRS has a simplified standard deduction. Take $5 per square foot, up to 300 square feet.

Speak with your tax professional about deducting a home business percentage from your homeowner's insurance, mortgage interest, utilities, and property taxes. Read the instructions, so you know how to plan your tax return.

Putting it together

For a tax deduction, your home office must serve as the core of your business affairs, or the place you do the bulk of your work. Whether you already have a home office or are thinking of creating one, design your space so it fits the IRS tax deduction requirements—even while it uplifts your home, delights your senses, and inspires your best work. 


Call us at EP Realtors® and ask to speak with one of our Realtors® about any of your real estate needs, (407) 704-8030.

Here are some related articles you may have missed: 

Realtor logo and MLS logo.

Posted in Homeowners
June 23, 2020

9 Fire Safety Tips For The Grilling Season

Photograph of a family barbecuing to illustrate fire safety while barbecuing.Fire safety is very important and we should never take fire for granted. This article is a repost from June 26th of last year.  

Every year as the weather gets warmer and people use their outdoor grills the number of accidents caused while grilling goes up.  According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), outdoor grilling is responsible for 8,900 home fires, on average!

The Association also says that more home fires are caused by gas grills than their charcoal fueled cousins.  

Another set of illustrative statistics is provided by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association showing the type of grills owned by household: 

  • Gas grills are owned by 61% of households
  • 41% have charcoal grills
  • 10% own electric grills

That’s 112%!  What?  Some households use more than one type of grill.

Following are 9 fire safety tips for the grilling season that will keep you, your friends and family, and your home safe during the BBQ season:

1 Keep it outside

Grills are intended to only be used outdoors. Yet, according to the NFPA over a quarter of home fires were started by grills being used in courtyards, terraces, and patios. Nearly thirty percent (29%) were started by grills being used on open porches and exterior balconies.  Also, watch out for overhanging trees before you set up your grill.

2 Keep it flat and level

It’s important to set your grill up on a flat and level surface so it can’t be tipped over. Think about putting a splatter mat under your as well to help protect your patio or deck.

3 Keep it clean

Clean out the grease and fat built up inside the grill, the cooking grill and surfaces, and the drip tray under the grill.  Allow the coals in a charcoal grill to cool completely then use a metal container for their disposal.

4 Look for gas leaks 

Check the gas hose and tank for leaks with a light soapy water solution before your barbecue of the season. You will check for leaks by applying the soapy water solution, opening the gas valve, and looking for bubbles caused be a leak. The smell of propane near your grill, or not being able to light the grill are other signs that there may be a leak.

5 Wait to relight if the flame goes out

When the flame goes out in a gas grill, turn off the gas and wait at least five minutes before relighting the grill.  This will allow time for any pockets of gas to disperse, preventing you from getting burned.

6 Be careful around the grill

Don’t ever leave the grill unattended. Obviously, don’t let the kids and pets play around the grill. Do not move the grill when it’s lit or hot and a grill will stay hot for an hour or more after the fire is out (charcoal or propane). 

7 Be careful with lighter fluid

Photograph of a charcoal chimney starter to illustrate barbecue fire safety while.Only use a charcoal starter fluid with your charcoal grill. Do not add lighter fluid, or any other kind of flammable liquid,  if the fire starts to go out. Think about getting a charcoal chimney starter, like the one photographed here.  Chimney starters use burning newspaper to light the charcoal instead of lighter fluid.

8 Mind your clothes

The fabric used to make clothes can easily catch fire or melt in the case of synthetic materials.  So make sure your sleeves and apron strings can’t dangle over the fire and tuck your shirt in.

9 Be ready to put the fire out

Have a box of baking soda handy in case there is a grease fire.  Also, have a fire extinguisher ready should you need it. Keep a pail of sand near the grill if you do not have a fire extinguisher.  Never try to put a grease fire out with water, it will cause the burning and hot grease to splatter - spreading the fire and injuring people.

Keep these easy to follow fire safety tips for the grilling season in mind to help you and your family enjoy summertime barbecuing.  For more household safety tips check out our article, “Six Things Every House Needs For Safety”.  

Share your BBQ safety tips in the comments!

Posted in Community, Homeowners
June 11, 2020

The Best Locations To Invest In Real Estate

Where are the best locations to invest in real estate?

Over the shoulder photograph of a couple looking at investment locations on a map to illustrate, "The Best Locations To Invest In Real Estate".Investors who have sufficient experience can make money nearly anywhere, but some locations are better than others to invest in. To maximize profits you’ll want to invest in areas with the best demand to supply ratio. Use the following questions to help you find the best locations to invest in real estate.


Demand

  • Job growth. Research the local census and demographic data.  You’re looking for areas where the job growth is equal to or greater than population growth. You want to make sure professional jobs are growing as well because there will be three or four service jobs created for every professional position.  All of those service employees will need a place to live too.
  • Quality of life. This is important, although subjective. Home many coffee shops and cafes are there? What about theaters and other entertainment? The demand in trendy areas typically has an increasing demand for housing. One quality of life indicator is that people are willing to take a lower-paying job to live there.
  • Area wealth. An area with wealth is a good sign. An area, or town, with wealth, won’t feel the effects of a slowing economy as much. So look around to see if there are more upscale homes in the location that you’re interested in.

Supply

  • Number of homes for sale. When there is a low supply of housing for sale there will be upward pressure on the prices. This also pushes up rents, making for better investments.
  • New homes. Visit your local planning office and find out if permits for new construction are greater or less than the population growth or the last seven to ten years.
  • Vacancy rate. The rental rates have to be sufficient and vacancies low enough that it makes sense to invest in that location.
  • Land availability. The less land that is available to develop the better because when the usable land starts to run out prices begin to increase rapidly.

When you start using these questions to evaluate various locations you will more clearly see the different potential of each location you’re interested in. You’ll also have a sense of the local supply and demand enabling you to zero in on the best locations to invest in real estate.


Are you ready to begin the search for your next investment property? Call us at EP Realtors® and ask to speak with one of our Realtors® who specializes in investment and vacation home properties, (407) 704-8030.

Here are some of our past articles you may have missed:

Realtor logo and MLS logo.

Posted in Investing
June 9, 2020

To Buy An Existing Home Or Build A New One?

Most of us that live in the United States will move around eleven or twelve times in our lifetimes, depending on your data source. It’s likely you will buy your home during some of those moves. It’s also quite likely that you will be able to build a new home in one of those moves.

Should you build a new home?

Photograph of a couple reviewing blueprints with a builder to illustrate, "To Buy An Existing Home Or Build A New One?".At some point in their journey, nearly everyone imagines what their dream house will look like. You may want closets the size of bedrooms, or bathroom with spa features, a chef’s kitchen worthy of a Food Network program, and more. 

Most likely you will have many options at the time you begin the home buying process. You will find many existing homes on the market that are in your budget and meet your needs, but you’ll always find something about the property that isn’t an exact match to your vision. Maybe it’s an unfinished basement, you the yard is too big (or too small), or the interior needs a total cosmetic makeover because you don’t like that avocado green that was popular in the 70s. It’s just about impossible to settle on an existing home without compromising on features.

The pros of building a new home

Building a new home lets you imagine, design, and build the home that matches your wants and needs within your budget, obviously. And your budget is something you’ll have to consider because a newly built home will be more expensive per square foot than an existing property. The property taxes may be higher as well because the city taxing authorities have to pay for the required infrastructure for the newly developed areas and the related services such as education, recreation, police, and fire. So you may be subsidizing the costs or a developing area.

However, new homes are built with modern materials which translate into lower energy costs compared to an existing home. Additionally, virtually every system in a new home is will be covered by a warranty and you can expect less maintenance than with an existing home.

Costs

Since developers have to go further away from the city center to find raw land to subdivide you may find your costs of commuting to work and travel to shopping may be greater. Consider this fiscally as well as the additional time you’ll spend driving.

Often times new homes are built in subdivisions that will have ongoing fees like a Home Owner’s Association (HOA).  There may also be covenants in place that are designed to maintain property values that can restrict what you are allowed to use your property (i.e., you can’t keep an RV on the property, or limitations to what you can plant in your front yard).

A newly developed property will need landscaping that might not be included in the purchase price. If landscaping is part of the purchase price it will be limited in the contract. Landscaping the property the way you want may require more money.

Construction delays

Expect construction delays. Builders are known for missing deadlines and making promises they can’t keep. Thoroughly research your builder and their track record before you sign a contract. Additionally, the weather is unpredictable and can affect the construction, but that should be taken into account from the beginning.

New subdivisions are a swarm of construction activity.  Be prepared for the hammering, sawing, vehicles, mud, and all-around chaos if you’re one of the first to move in. This is a temporary inconvenience, but some people find it very disruptive, especially when they’re just getting settled into their dream home.

Only build a new home if you plan to live there for quite a while. Because you will likely be surrounded by new construction it would be hard to compete with the other properties on the market. Meaning you would have to lower your price to attract offers.

After having said all this, and there’s more that could be said, there’s nothing and satisfying as going home to a house that you helped design and had built. Not to mention the pride of ownership when your family and friends come for a visit. 


Call us at EP Realtors® and ask to speak with one of our Realtors® about any of your real estate needs, (407) 704-8030.

Here are some related articles you may have missed: 

Realtor logo and MLS logo.

Posted in Home Buying
June 4, 2020

Fine-tuning Your Commercial Real Estate Crystal Ball

We wish we had a crystal ball that would show us what is coming in our future. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just wave our hand over our crystal ball, utter some incantation, and voila - the future is revealed before our eyes! Then, knowing what is going to come, prepare, and move in a way to capitalize on the future.

Photograph of a crystal ball with a suburban background to illustrate, "Fine-tuning Your Commercial Real Estate Crystal Ball".Regrettably, crystal balls don’t exist, but in real estate, there are a number of tools available that are nearly as good as a crystal ball. They can reveal the future indirectly allowing the real estate investor to plan accordingly and gain an advantage in the market.

Fine-tuning your commercial real estate crystal ball comes down to paying attention, doing some basic research, and remaining aware and on top of your area of specialization or your area of focus and influence. To really fine-tune your crystal ball you will have to have some vision and creativity. Predicting a future need, envisioning a solution, and then creating something didn’t exist (not even as an idea), then marshaling the resources to develop a plan and execute it is a commercial real estate investor’s dream. When done well it can be very fulfilling and lucrative.

There are many things assisting an investor in predicting and planning for the future that they should already be doing that are very important in the commercial real estate space. By being able to see an opportunity ahead of time you will be able to act on it before anyone else can. This can include driving community’s streets and observing what land and buildings are for sale, which commercial centers are vacant and leasing, attending your local planning and zoning meetings, reading about your local real estate and economic trends, and researching other cities whos market affects yours.

As a real estate investor, you have to maintain a level of expertise in your area of focus or specialization. You can be constantly informed and ahead of other investors by doing the things listed above.

Another tool used to forecast the future commercial real estate is your city’s future land-use master plan showing the future zoning and use of all the land within the city limits. A small city may not have such a map if they aren’t looking to grow. But most cities have a master use plan that is used to plan their future layout and economic make-up.

The master planning map is used to plan city growth, controlling all elements of the city. Zoning and usage can change for some properties and other properties will remain the same. It’s possible raw land will be annexed by the city for a specific use, creating great opportunities for the real estate investor. There could also be older properties that will need to be demolished or renovated in order to develop them for different use.


Are you ready to begin the search for your next investment property? Call us at EP Realtors® and ask to speak with one of our Realtors® who specializes in investment and vacation home properties, (407) 704-8030.

Here are some recent articles you may have missed:

Realtor logo and MLS logo.

Posted in Investing
June 2, 2020

Why Buy A Luxury Home In Florida?

Photograph of a luxury beach home in Florida to illustrate, "Why Buy A Luxury Home In Florida?"There are a lot of reasons why someone would want to purchase a luxury house in Orlando, Tampa Bay, or elsewhere in Florida. Whether it's the beautiful beaches, outstanding attractions, and landmarks, or other amazing sites, there is plenty to enjoy across the Sunshine State. As such, competition for the top Florida luxury homes can be fierce.

Ultimately, it helps to prepare for the Florida luxury homebuying journey. If you launch a Sunshine State luxury home search with a plan in hand, you can boost the likelihood of discovering a great house that you can enjoy for years to come.

Let's now take a look at three tips to help you plan ahead for the Florida luxury homebuying journey.

1 - Narrow Your Home Search

Make a list of preferred Florida cities and towns where you want to reside. That way, you can hone your luxury house search to a select group of cities and towns and speed up your quest to find your ideal Sunshine State residence.

For example, if you want to live near the historic landmarks in St. Augustine, you may want to focus on luxury houses in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you prefer to live near family members and friends in Fort Lauderdale, you can search for luxury residences in the Fort Lauderdale area.

2 - Prepare a Budget

You know you want to buy a Florida luxury home, but you still have no idea how much you can spend on a residence. Fortunately, if you get pre-approved for a jumbo mortgage, you can enter the Sunshine State luxury housing market with a budget at your disposal.

To get pre-approved for a jumbo mortgage, you should meet with several banks. These financial institutions then can teach you about jumbo mortgage options and help you complete a mortgage application. Finally, once you are approved for a jumbo mortgage, you can start your quest to acquire a Florida luxury house that suits you perfectly.

3 - Hire a Realtor®

There is no reason to embark on the Florida luxury homebuying journey alone. Thankfully, realtors® are available to help you. These housing market professionals can offer expert insights into the Sunshine State luxury real estate market and help you purchase your ideal residence in no time at all.

A realtor® will first learn about you and your Florida luxury homebuying goals. Next, they will craft a homebuying strategy designed to help you achieve these goals as quickly as possible. And if you ever have concerns or questions as you search for your dream luxury residence in the Sunshine State, a real estate agent is happy to respond to them.

Take the guesswork out of finding and purchasing your ideal Florida luxury residence – use these tips, and you can plan ahead for the Sunshine State luxury homebuying journey.


Call us at EP Realtors® and ask to speak with one of our Realtors® about any of your real estate needs, (407) 704-8030.

Here are some recent articles you may have missed: 

Realtor logo and MLS logo.

Posted in Home Buying
May 28, 2020

5 Ways Investing In Real Estate Is Like Finding A Spouse

It true, there are more similarities between investing in real estate and finding a spouse than you may think.

Photograph of a signs with the word 'choice' on each to illustrate, "5 Ways Investing In Real Estate Is Like Finding A Spouse".

Here are the “Five Laws of Lead Generation” excerpted from the book, “The Millionaire Real Estate Investor” by Gary Keller and others. Obviously there are differences in the mechanics of selecting an investment property and find your one-and-only.  This is meant to be a tongue-in-cheek attempt to uncover some of the parallels.

5 Ways Investing In Real Estate Is Like Finding A Spouse

1 - Never Compromise - You’re only looking for what meets your criteria

Everybody has expectations of the qualities we want in a spouse and we obviously want to find someone who exhibits those qualities. Likewise, it important that an investment property meets certain qualities as well. Just like a person can grow over time we want a property that appreciates over time.

2 -Be a shopper, not a buyer - It’s better to lose out on a good opportunity than it is to get a bad one

Romance is one of the easiest things to sell. Many investors have eagerly bought into some romantic ideas like “love at first sight” or the “white knight” sweeping the princess off her feet. As with marriage, making a rushed decision based on an emotional impulse to invest in a piece of real estate can lead to a terrible result. There are a lot of properties up for sale with more coming on the market daily, so it makes more sense to hold out for the right property instead of jumping at your first crush.

3 - Timing matters - be the first or last one to submit an offer

This may be a painful concept for some.  Surely we can all think of someone in our past that we would have married if the timing was different, can’t we? Moving on…..

4 - It’s a numbers game 

Even though some people happily married their highschool sweetheart, most of us learned about ourselves and the kind of person we want to be with through dating a number of people. The idea here isn’t to date a lot of people so much as it is keeping an open mind toward new people.

Similarly while investing in real estate that act of inspecting properties will help you decide what kind of property is best suited for you.

5 - Be organized and systematic to protect your time and money

It’s easy for us to get all dreamy and focus all of our attention on a new relationship as well as wanting to spend our time and money on it.  There’s certainly something to be said for being spontaneous and serendipitous, but it’s not very prudent to go all in and put your other priorities on the back burner every time you meet someone new.

Even though investing in real estate ought to be an unemotional financial decision, and find a spouse is arguably the most emotional decision of your life, they are each among the biggest decisions of our lives.  Sadly, EP Realtors® can't help you find a spouse because we are not a relationship matching service, but we are really good at matching investors with quality investment properties.


Posted in Investing
May 26, 2020

5 Rules For Successful Home Buying

There aren’t many things that you will buy in your lifetime that financially and psychologically weighted as buying your home.

Photograph of chalkboard with the word "know the rules" written on it to illustrate, "5 Rules For Successful Home Buying"It doesn’t matter if you’re purchasing your first home or downsizing after you become an empty nester, there are benefits to understanding the 5 rules for successful home buying.

Making the wrong choices during the home buying process can be devastating and have some long-term consequences. However, choosing wisely during the process can greatly improve your position in, and the value of, your investment.

It’s prudent to learn everything you can about real estate and mortgages before you begin your home buying journey.

Although there are a lot of web sites directed at educating first-time homebuyers, most financial experts state that nothing is better than experience or talking to someone with that experience.

While working through the home buying process it’s important to make all your decisions based on sound information and reason. Home buying can be an emotional process, but it’s absolutely necessary to keep your emotion in check so they don’t cloud your judgment. Using a systematic approach when home buying is the best way to keep your emotions in check, gain sound information, and apply reason to your decisions. 

Here are our 5 rules for successful home buying. Now you can choose your home wisely.

5 Rules For Successful Home Buying

1 - Arrange your financing first

Even though your desire to just get out there and start searching for your dream home is strong, it’s nearly critical that you have your financing arranged before you begin. It will be heartbreaking if you miss out on your dream home because you aren’t able to finance that property after your offer has been accepted.

There are a number of advantages to having your financing worked out upfront, including knowing what you can pay.

By knowing what you can afford you won’t waste your time looking at homes that are unattainable and your Realtor® can better serve you by showing you only properties that you can close on.

There are many types of loans available today besides the traditionally 15 or 30-year mortgage. So it’s important that the would-be homebuyer spend some time talking to a lender to work out which mortgage best fits their circumstances and finances.

2 - Consider the surrounding area not just the home

It’s important to consider the neighborhoods around your target property and don’t focus on only the home. This is especially true when you are moving into an unfamiliar area.

You will want to figure out the most desirable places to live and think about your commute to work, shopping, recreation, and public transportation.

Related article: Top 5 Questions To Ask About Every Neighborhood

3 - Make a reasonable initial offer

Lowballing your first off can backfire causing the seller to become uncooperative while you’re negotiating.

In order to make a reasonable initial offer you need to make a market evaluation comparing asking prices and sold prices with similar properties in the neighborhood.  This is called a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) and is a service your Realtor® can do for you, just ask.

The CMA is a good way to derive what the fair market value of a property is.  This will help you make a reasonable initial offer without lowballing or overpaying for the property.

Related article: The Four C’s Of Home Pricing

4 - Hire a home inspector

Have the property professionally inspected by a certified home inspector after your offer is accepted during your due diligence period. The cost of a certified home inspection is negligible compared to the cost of the property and it will provide a fair amount of peace of mind.  

Related article: 3 Ways For A Homebuyer To Prepare For a Home Inspection

5 - Don’t alienate the sellers

There have been a number of real estate transactions that have come undone because of personal animosities between the sellers and buyers. Maintaining the seller’s goodwill goes a long way toward executing a smooth transaction. Therefore it’s of the utmost importance to avoid alienating your seller and nitpicking the minute details.


Call us at EP Realtors® and ask to speak with one of our Realtors® about any of your real estate needs, (407) 704-8030.

Here are some recent articles you may have missed: 

Realtor logo and MLS logo.

Posted in Home Buying
May 21, 2020

The Effects Of The Coronavirus On Real Estate Investing

Currently the coronavirus pandemic is on top of everybody’s mind. Like you, we are all concerned and watching closely for what will happen next. Another thing on the top of many people’s minds is what will be the effects of the coronavirus on real estate investing?

The impact on real estate

Man in suit pointing at property investment sign to illustrate, "The Effects Of The Coronavirus On Real Estate Investing"It may be too soon to determine what the total coronavirus impact on real estate investors will be. This is a new and fast-moving issue and it’s very difficult to assess. That’s one reason why there’s so much uncertainty in the stock market.

But, and this is a big but, in the long run the economy is certain to rebound, especially in Florida. The fundamentals of the Central Florida economy and its future prospects are still very good and nothing has been reported in the news to cause us to think otherwise.

If you agree with that as an investor then you will view this pandemic as a short to mid-term market condition. So the logical thing to do is focus on protecting your finances and be ready to take advantage of any opportunities that you find.

Protecting your finances

The primary concern of an investor is that their business depends on buyers and renters earning salaries at their jobs. So when people aren’t able to go to work or get paid our ability to collect rent is affected.

Since most people don’t have much of a savings account, when they lose their income they will also lose their ability to pay their bills in just a matter of weeks, maybe months at the most.

Even though those shortfalls of cash might be short-lived, it could possibly lead to a recession.  A recession is not a prediction, simply a possibility.

So how does a real estate investor protect their finances?

  • Cash reserves - Do what you can to increase your cash on hand and reevaluate your cash backup plans such as your credit lines.
  • Be proactive - Talk to your renters if they get in a cash pinch. Don’t evict them if there’s a reasonable chance that they will be able to catch up over time. There’s no point in evicting a good tenant just to have a vacancy that might cost you even more.
  • Education and adaptability - Don’t be an ostrich, stay aware of the current crisis, and adapt the changes as they unfold.

Take advantage of opportunities

Whenever there is an unexpected economic shakeup there will be people who don’t have enough cash to get through it unscathed.  That cash shortage can lead to buying opportunities for investors.

How to prepare for those opportunities:

  • Arrange your financing - Touch base with your banking, private lenders, and other sources of credit. Ensure they are all ready to move quickly on an opportunity.
  • Continue to search out deals - You never really know when a great opportunity will come along, so continue your lead generating activities.
  • Submit conservative offers - Don’t be timid about submitting offers that are below the asking price. Make offers that are going to be profitable to you in the long run.  Continue to follow up if your offer is rejected.
  • Be patient - Keep an eye on the latest developments and be ready to act on opportunities when you find them. 

Keep in mind that if this all blows over quickly you won’t be any worse off, but if an opportunity presents itself you'll be ready for it!


Are you ready to begin the search for your next investment property? Call us at EP Realtors® and ask to speak with one of our Realtors® who specializes in investment and vacation home properties, (407) 704-8030.

Here are some recent articles you may have missed:

Realtor logo and MLS logo.

Posted in Investing
May 19, 2020

All About Home Buying With Student Loan Debt

Photograph of a tip jar with the words "we've got cats to feed and lots and lots of student debt" to illustrate the article, "All About Home Buying With Student Loan Debt"

Student loan debt is currently a hot topic in the United States.  Student loans are seen as a monetary monster. They are also among the most often cited reasons for postponing homeownership and continue renting, 43% of the time according to one study.

First-time buyers worry about making the down payment and are anxious about taking on more debt.  Their student loan debt is something to consider as well.  But the thing is, student loans are very far down the list when it comes to disqualifying the would-be homebuyer. This article is about how buying a house when you have student loan debt.

Things to know about debt

Whether you’re thinking about buying a house or not, you first want to get to know your debt. It’s important to understand all that owe, who you owe it to, your payment schedule, and the interest rate. Then you will be able to make informed plans for your financial future and you will be able to speak factually with your financial planners, lenders, and others.  It’s important!

Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is one of the key factors your lender will look at when your applying for a mortgage.  Most lenders want to see less than 29% your gross income going towards all of your housing expenses, and no more than 36% of your gross income going towards servicing your debts - this includes the mortgage payment you’re thinking about adding.

So having a high DTI by itself is not a gating factor qualifying for financing. But it is something you need to understand and lower if possible before applying for a loan.

There a number of other considerations to look at before making your application. Your payment history for all your debts including your student loan.  Your lender wants to see a history of on-time, full payments, for all of your debts.  A good payment history is an indicator of financial responsibility and gives the lender confidence that you will make your mortgage payments prescribed in your mortgage contract.

Check your credit report which you can get for free once a year from the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). Ensure that there isn’t anything inaccurate on your reports and decide if there’s anything you can do to increase your scores. If you do find inaccuracies, talk to the reporting bureau about making corrections before you begin your loan application.

Your mortgage options can be impacted by your payment plan

Your student loan repayment plan is something to consider as well. The initial repayment plan is a 10-year plan. Many student loan recipients have refinanced their loans or opted for a different repayment plan.

Although changing the repayment plan can be helpful for budgeting, especially for recent graduates who may not be able to keep up with the 10-year plan.  However, this can impact your mortgage options. It’s worth talking more about income-driven plans and refinancing.

Refinancing

Refinancing can be a great option for either a government-backed loan or a private loan. Refinancing lets you consolidate multiple loans from different financial aid sources into a single lower monthly payment. Lowering your monthly payment is helpful because it also lowers your DTI (debt to income ration).

But…. refinanced loans are reported as new debt on your credit report and that can impact your credit score.  How it impacts your credit score varies and is dependant on your situation.  It still may be worth doing in order to get a more favorable DTI.  But talk about the pros and cons of doing this before you commit to it.

One more thing, NEVER, EVER, refinance your student loan while you are in the process of buying a home.  You can refi before or after, but NEVER while you’re in the process of buying a home. Your lender will check your credit report one last time before settling at closing and you want to avoid changes until after the transaction is closed and recorded.

Related article: What To Expect At Your Closing

Income-driven repayment plans

These plans allow for making lower loan payments based on their income, based on the borrower’s annual income.  There are three plans (income-based repayment, pay as you earn, and revised pay as you earn). These plans make the borrower report their financial situation every year, thus having their monthly payment recalculated annually.

These are popular plans and offer the borrower more affordable options and still retain federal protection. The borrower is also offered debt forgiveness if they remain in good standing are the end of their plan’s set timeframe. Even though these plans are very helpful at managing your loans, the complicate the mortgage process.

These plans revert to the original 10-year plan if the borrower fails to recertify each year. Also, since the payment is recalculated annually, the actual payment isn’t what the lender sees on your credit report. The lender sees the original 10-plan’s payment schedule on your credit report which is likely much higher than the actual payment.

It’s not impossible to qualify for a mortgage while you’re on an income-driven plan, but it adds a degree of complication.  Therefore, it’s vital that you explain your situation to your lender and provide supporting documentation as early as possible. 


Call us at EP Realtors® and ask to speak with one of our Realtors® about any of your real estate needs, (407) 704-8030.

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