Video Blogs to help you get "Real Estate Smart"

Here at The Miller Realty Group we like to provide current and future homeowner's the information they need to help them make the right decisions when they are buying, selling or investing in real estate.  This is why we continue to share our expertise via Video Blogs on our website for everyone to see.  We firmly believe that in the real estate market that "Knowledge is Power"!  Let our expertise empower you with your real estate needs.

Always feel free to Contact Us if you need our help!

Aug. 16, 2017

Do you need a real estate attorney to close in the state of Florida?

In the state of Florida, it is not required to have a real estate attorney present at the sale of a residential property.  The Florida Supreme Court has made a contract that all realtors can use and a licensed Realtor can fill in the blanks. You can choose to have a real estate attorney assist in the transaction if you would like but it is not required. 

There are some instances where a real estate attorney might be a good idea.  If language is added to the contract that is not approved by the Florida Supreme Court it might be a good idea to hire a real estate attorney to review the contract to make sure you are protected. A Realtor is licensed to practice real estate and not licensed to practice law, so they are not able to give legal advise.  Another instance is if you are purchasing new construction.  Builders do not use the same contract as the state does.  They have their own contract with their own language so you would want to have it reviewed to make sure you are protected.  Lastly, you might want to consider hiring a real estate attorney if you are working with an inexperienced agent or an agent who is doe not have the expertise to work through the transaction.  Always make sure you are protected.

I hope that this helped and as always we are here to help, so feel free to Contact Us. We would be happy to help you to Get Real Estate Smart.

May 31, 2017

Find out the 3 recurring costs before purchasing a home!

Before you purchase a home in Orlando Florida, it is important to understand three recurring cost that you will be responsible for after closing.  By understand these cost it will give you a better idea on if you can really afford a property in Orlando, FL or not.

  1. Property Taxes.  Your realtor should be able to provide you what the property taxes would be on an Orlando home you are thinking about purchasing. In looking the property taxes it's important to understand if those would be your final taxes after you purchase your Orlando home or not.  For example, if you purchase a piece of land to build a house on the property tax of the land will be a lot lower rate then after the house is built. Once the Orlando house is built, property will be re-assessed and the property tax can increase anywhere from $700 to $5,000 a year.
  2. Home Owners Association and Assessments: Most neighborhoods in Central Florida have a homeowners associations. As part of the process of buying a property, your Orlando REALTOR should provide you with a homeowners association disclosure which will disclosure how much the HOA fees would be in that community.   You also need to look at what is included in those fees. For example, does it include the maintenance of the lawn, the water bill, electricity, etc. If it does not, you will need to factor the items which are not into your monthly costs. You also need to find out if the homeowners association has any special assessments. Special assessments are fees that are assessed to an entire community for a particular project which may be taking place within the neighborhood.   An example of this would be if a beach front condo needed to build a new way against the beach. 
  3. Home and Flood Insurance:  If you are getting a loan to purchase your home, you are more than likely going to be required to get homeowners insurance. This cost is usually put into an escrow account with the property taxes so you can pay them monthly rather than having to pay them in one lump sum.  You will also need to find out if you the Orlando home you are purchasing is in a flood zone.  If it is then you will need flood insurance as well. Flood insurance is not cheap and if you are required to purchase it, then you should find out immediately how much that cost will be and factor it into your overall expenses.

Those are the three things that you need to be aware before purchasing a home.

I hope that this helped and as always we are here to help, so feel free to Contact Us. We would be happy to help you to Get Real Estate Smart.

Posted in Buyer Video Blogs
May 15, 2017

Top 5 Reasons Why Your House Appraisal Can Be Low!

In today's fast paced real estate market, home appraisals coming in lower than expected are happening more often than one would think. It can be very devastating to get a low appraisal; so being prepared and understanding the market is crucial. 

There are a few reasons why home appraisals come in low.  One, is that the market could be moving too quickly. Appraisers do not look at pending sales or active sales. They only look at comparable homes that have been already sold in your community.  As a result, if the market is moving too quickly, the houses that are pending sales will not be considered when your home is being appraised. 

Another reason for a low home appraisal which correlates with the first reason, is that you never want to be the most expensive house in the neighborhood. Your home should be priced in the mid to lower range and based on previous sales.

A home appraisal can come in low because your house can be in functional obsolescence. This means that home buyers may not be looking for certain features in your home. An example of this would be if you added on additions which gives your home a unique floor plan.  You would need to find a buyer who has the same or similar taste or desires. 

Improvements made to your home may not be as valuable as you think, which can lead to a lower appraisal. For example, a new AC unit is not considered an adjustable upgrade to increase the value of your home since it is considered a maintenance item. Example of home improvements that would increase your home value are granite counter tops, wood flooring, tile flooring, etc.

Finally, your home appraisal can be lower than expected because there may not be enough homes in the area that were sold in the price range you are expecting. This often occurs in rural areas or large lake front properties. Appraisers sometimes look at other property values as far as 5-10 miles away when conducting market research. This can lower the value of your home depending on the surrounding neighborhoods.

To help make sure your home appraises make sure the house is clean and treat it like an open house or a showing. Something else that you can consider is to play some light jazz music in the background. You want the appraiser to feel good while he or she is in your home. You should always put your best foot forward in preparing for the appraiser.

Before the appraiser comes to your home, follow up with your real estate agent to make sure that he or she gives the appraiser the improvements that were done to your property. That will allow the appraiser to make the necessary adjustments when determining the value of your home. It is also a plus for your listing agent to be present for the appraisal to see and speak to the appraiser to do what they can to make sure the house appraises.

As always, we are here to help so feel free to Contact Us. We would be happy to help you to Get Real Estate Smart.

Posted in Seller Video Blogs
May 4, 2017

College Debt Not A Buyer Deal Breaker

College debt is huge topic that is not spoken about as much as it should be.  Each year thousands of people graduate from college with a degree, but they get stuck with huge student loan debt at the end. This debt take years to pay off and can often affect a person's ability to purchase a home.

Last year we hit an all time low for first time home buyers mainly because they could not qualify for a loan. When talking to a lender about getting qualified to purchase a home, the lenders have to account for the college debt in their debt to income ratio.  This stops many people from qualifying for a home loan and is a huge problem for first time home buyers. As a result of not getting qualified to purchase a home, people often end up renting for long periods of time or staying with family. 

The good news is that companies such as Fannie Mae have an option for the first time home buyer.  If someone is paying off the college debt for the loan applicant, the lender does not have to account for the college debt. As long as the proper documentation is presented to show that the debt is being paid off by a third party consistently, the lender will not include it in the debt to income ratio.  This gives the applicant a higher chance of getting approved to purchase that new home.

This is great news for parents and graduates, so if you or know anybody you know needs this service, please Contact Us and we would be happy to help you to Get Real Estate Smart.

Posted in Buyer Video Blogs
April 28, 2017

Should you buy before you sell?


When someone is looking to sell their house and by a new one, they often times do not know what they should do first. Should they buy before they sell or sell and then buy?  Their biggest fear when wanting to buy and sell at the same time is that they do not want to sell too quickly and end up homeless or having to move twice.

Many people believe that they should find the home they would like to purchase first and get it under contract before they put their house up for sale. The Orlando market is currently a seller's market, which means inventory is low and sellers have more options with a greater chance for multiple offers. If buying a home is contingent upon whether or not you sell your home, sellers are more than likely going to go with someone who is ready to buy immediately. This will cause you to lose leverage and your options will be very limited.

Our team of Realtors have been in the business for eleven years and have helped a lot of people who want to buy and sell their home at the same time. As a result, we have put together a 5-Step program:

  • Step 1 - Start looking at houses. You will be making a list of your top three choices.
  • Step 2 - Put your house on the market. Find a Realtor who can help you to price your home appropriately and get   your house in top showing condition.
  • Step 3 - Once you get an offer, you want to negotiate the close date. This is important to give you plenty of time to start the buying process.
  • Step 4 - Put an offer in on a house you would like to buy.  Revisit your top 3 houses and see what is still available to put an offer in.
  • Step 5 - Closing.  You will want to set up the close dates and times for buying your new home and selling your old home within a couple days of each other. This will help the transaction will go through smoothly with a little less stress. 

This process allows you to keep leverage on the buy side and will end up saving you money by allowing your house to sell for top dollar.  

As always, we are here to help you! Please feel free to Contact Us and I hope that I have helped you get real estate smart.

April 25, 2017

April 2017 Orlando Real Estate Stats


The new stats just came out for the Orlando Regional Realtor Association and it tells us what's been going on for the past month and how it will affect property owners. Currently the inventory of homes in Orlando, FL is extremely low and we are in a strong sellers market.  

With the inventory so low in Orlando, if you are a buyer, it can be hard to find a home depending on the neighborhood and what your budget is for your next house. For budgets below $300,000, there are slimmer options and it is crucial to team up with a Realtor (in particular a Buyer Specialist), which I spoke about in my previous video blog to help you find a home.

Even though the inventory of homes is low in Orlando, sales are up 12% compared to this time last year. With the recent increase of interest rates, many potential buyers are getting off of the fence and making the move. The demand is also strong because the economy is doing doing very well and there is a lot of job growth in Central Florida, which leads to more people buying homes.

Another point that is important to mention is that the median price for single family homes is 11% higher than it was in 2016 and it is 88% higher than July 2011. This is due to high demand, which means higher prices.

If you are thinking about selling your house, this would be the best time to sell, with such a low amount of inventory there will be less competition for you.  You also will have more leverage in the negotiation process on getting your self the best deal.

As always, we are here to help you! Please feel free to Contact Us and I hope that I have helped you get real estate smart.

April 14, 2017

Why Using a Buyers Specialist is Important in a Sellers Market?

Today, the real estate market is a very strong sellers market! The inventory is low and the homes that are for sale are very limited on the market. If you are currently looking at homes without a realtor, you may be making a big mistake. When you use a realtor to buy a home, it does not cost you anything and it is free, because the seller is paying their commission. The benefits of working with a realtor is that it will help you to find a property in today's market, negotiate the contract for you, keep the deal together, etc.

After you have made the decision to use a realtor, you need to find a realtor who is a Buyer Specialist. This is someone that works specifically with buyers and knows the inventory listed on the market very well. After they have an idea of what you are looking for, they will show you the homes that match your interest and budget. This will save you lots of time and money.

You may also want to work with a Buyer Specialist that is part of a team, because if they work with a listing specialist, they will have access to pocket listings. These are listings which are not on MLS yet that the other 12,000 realtors and buyers are not aware of.

If you are in the process of looking to buy a new home, our team specializes in both buyer and listing specialists and we can help you find the home of your dreams within your budget. Our buyer specialists are inventory experts in Central Florida and they can show you properties that did not hit the market yet. If you are seeking help with, please feel free to Contact Us and I hope that I have helped you get real estate smart.

Posted in Buyer Video Blogs
April 12, 2017

When you receive multiple offers on your house, what's the best strategy to get the best price and terms?

As a seller in Orlando Florida, you always want to get the best price for your home.  Right now the real estate market is in a seller’s market, which means that the inventory of homes is low and there is a lot of buyers searching for properties.

When you get multiple offers on your property, you have the leverage to get the best terms and conditions in your contract.  It becomes easier to negotiate the closing date you want, get the type of escrow that works for you and arrange favorable financial terms.  

So when you get multiple offers on your home what are your options?  Your first option is to try to negotiate with the first offer and if you can't come to agreement start to negotiate with your second offer.  From my experience this approach works however from what I have found in the Orlando, FL housing market it's always best to ask for the buyer's to come back with their best and final offers.  The reason that I like to do this is because if you are the buyer and you love this house and you don't know what the other buyers are going to come back with, you are going to put your best foot forward in order to try to get the house.  When the buyers put their best foot forward that means that the seller will always get the best price and terms which they are looking for.

Something else that your REALTOR can do for you is that when they ask for the buyers best and final offers, they can let the buyers know what's important to the sellers such as a high escrow, short inspection period, waive appraisal contingency, etc.  This ensures that when the offers come back it could match what the sellers are wanting in their contract.

Once you get your house under contract you can still continue to use this leverage you have throughout the closing process.  If something pops up in the inspection report that the buyers want fixed as you negotiate through it you can lean on the fact that you have other buyers wanting to purchase your house as well.  This leverage gives you better positioning during the negotiation process.

For more information on this or if you need trusted realtors to represent you, feel free to Contact Us  and we would be more than happy to assist you. "Get Real Estate Smart" with The Millers!

Posted in Seller Video Blogs
March 27, 2017

Real Estate Myth #1 - I should price my house high to give room to negotiate

A common question that I often get asked is, "Should I price my house higher than market value, so that I have room to negotiate?" The answer is No you should not! 

In order to understand why, you have to understand how Orlando MLS works.  When Buyer Specialists are working with buyers they put them on an automated e-mail notification system via the Orlando MLS which will send them an e-mail when a house comes onto the market which matches their requirement.  So when you first put your house on the market, hundreds and hundreds of e-mails are set up to potential buyers who want a house just like yours, in your area of town, in this price range.  With that being said it is so important that you have your house priced right from the very beginning because if you don't you will be missing out on a lot of potential buyers.  You see if your house is just $1 over the criteria which was set by the potential buyer, they will NOT see your house pop up.  So with that being said your house will not be visible to all the buyers who are looking for a house just like yours.

Another thing to keep in mind is that 90% of buyers work with REALTORS to help them find a house to purchase.  Whenever a buyer finds a house they want to buy, before they make an offer, the agent will allows do a market analysis of the property to let them know if the house is priced right, if it's under priced or if it's over priced.  If your house is over priced it will not get any offers!  You see if you were a buyer and your REALTOR was telling you that the house you wanted to purchase was overpriced and there where other homes to look at, you wouldn't want to waste your time trying to convince the sellers that their home is overpriced. 

Now this doesn't mean that you have to give your house away however you do need to price it right in order to drive the traffic through the front door. The more demand you have on your house the higher it will sell for, and I'm sure that it what you want!  Studies show that overpriced homes take twice as long to sell and sell for 6% less!  So price your house right from the beginning so you can get it sold for top dollar!

If you need more advice on this, please feel free to Contact Us and we would be glad to help.

Posted in Seller Video Blogs
March 27, 2017

Could renting out rooms of your house via AirBnB cost you your homestead exemption?

If you are an AirBnb host and you currently have a renter, you may risk the possibility of voiding your homestead on your home. For those of you who are unfamiliar with AirBnb, it is a website where you can find people all over the world who will rent out a room in their house or they may rent out their entire house for a person to stay. This has become the new alternative instead of staying in a hotel for many travelers.

A homestead exemption is where you can claim your primary residence as your homestead to get an exemption. This gives you a credit of $50,000 off of your assessed value, which means that your property taxes would be higher without it.

Recently a new property appraiser for the city of Miami informed the public that if you are a person who rents out your home on AirBnB, you could be creating homestead fraud. Under the homestead act, you can not rent out your house for more than 30 days for 2 years and if you are doing it for more than 30 days, you should not be declaring homestead exemption. The penalties if you are caught doing this would result in you possibly loosing your homestead exemption, plus a 50% penalty and 50% interest. 

Since AirBNB is still fairly new, the government agencies haven't officially made a stance on this concern.  There are folks within the government who would like to allow this however require the tenants to pay a lodging tax just like they would if they stayed in a hotel.  Then there are those that don't want to allow it because they feel that it would be disturbing to the neighborhood.  It is important that you know the laws and rules in your area to avoid complications that could result in severe penalties.  

As always, we are more than happy to answer questions. Please feel free to Contact Us for additional information.

Posted in Miscelaneous