Author Archives: Savino James

Florida Realtors® applauds Governor DeSantis, Florida Legislature for Assignment of Benefits reform

Florida Realtors® applauds Governor DeSantis, Florida Legislature for Assignment of Benefits reform

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., May 24, 2019 — Florida Realtors®, the state’s largest professional trade association with more than 187,000 members, applauds Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signing into law bill CS/CS/HB 7065, which establishes important reforms to the Assignment of Benefits (AOB) process.

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Fla.’s Housing Market: Sales, Median Prices Rise in April 2019

Fla.’s Housing Market: Sales, Median Prices Rise in April 2019

ORLANDO, Fla., May 21, 2019 – Florida’s housing market reported more sales, higher median prices and increased inventory (active listings) in April compared to a year ago, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 26,992 last month, up 6.2% over April 2018.

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Florida Realtors® Applauds Gov. DeSantis, Florida Legislature for Additional Cut to Business Rent Tax

Florida Realtors® Applauds Gov. DeSantis, Florida Legislature for Additional Cut to Business Rent Tax

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., May 15, 2019 — Florida Realtors®, the state’s largest professional trade association with more than 187,000 members, applauds Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signing into law House Bill 7123, which includes a .2% reduction to the state tax on commercial leases, known more commonly as the Business Rent Tax (BRT).

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Fla.’s Housing Market: Median Prices, Inventory Show Gains in 1Q 2019

Fla.’s Housing Market: Median Prices, Inventory Show Gains in 1Q 2019

ORLANDO, Fla., May 14, 2019 – Florida’s housing market reported higher median prices and rising inventory during the first quarter of 2019, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Rising prices continue to put pressure on many homebuyers despite gains in the inventory of for-sale homes: Closed sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 59,505 in 1Q 2019, down 1.2% from the 1Q 2018 level.

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Realtor® Beverly Garvin: A True Hall of Famer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Beverly Garvin, a Realtor® with Watson Realty Corp. Hidden Hills office in Jacksonville, believes in the power of her peers in bringing change to the real estate industry.

“You have to be involved. You can’t expect change if you’re not involved in helping to make the change,” says Garvin, who was inducted into the Realtors® Political Action Committee (RPAC) Hall of Fame in recognition of her contributions and support.

Garvin started in real estate in December 1969 and joined Watson in January 1970. To enhance her knowledge and expertise, she has completed advanced education and professional development courses through the National Association of Realtors (NAR), earning the Graduate, Realtor Institute (GRI), Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager (CRB) and the Performance Management Network (PMN) designations.

“I wanted a job where I could set my own hours, have unlimited potential and was flexible enough that I could tend to my small children,” she says.

From the beginning, Garvin realized the power of getting involved. She’s slowing her pace some now but remembers fondly her year as president of the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors (NEFAR), followed by her term as the state president for the Women’s Council of Realtors.

“Both gave me opportunities to grow, work and unite people. We reached heights that we never reached before,” she says.

One of the projects she was passionate about was building a house, sponsored by her local association, for an underprivileged family. “We built a house in a week’s time through Habijax,” Garvin recalls. “We furnished the house for a lovely mom and it was completely paid for.”

She’s learned a lot of lessons in her years with Watson and in volunteer leadership. The one that sticks out the most is this: Don’t judge a book by its cover.

“Working with people, you see so many personalities and it’s so easy to judge or strike out at people who aren’t on the same pages as you,” Garvin says. “Learning to effectively work with different personalities has been my biggest challenge, yet also the most rewarding part of volunteer leadership and brokerage office management.”

As the manager of the brokerage’s Hidden Hills office, which she’s been managing since the 1970s, she’s learned to quickly adapt to change.

She adds, “My agents have changed over the years, but at the same time, we also have some who have been here a long time. We have such a wonderful atmosphere. We’re a family and supportive of each other. The agents are competitive, but they realize that by supporting each other, they’ll all do better. I have always believed in the motto: Together Everyone Achieves More (TEAM).”

It’s that view that she takes into her volunteer work as well, especially when it comes to RPAC.

“RPAC is there to help shape the future of our industry,” says Garvin. “I’m proud to be a part of the Hall of Fame, and even prouder to have been a supporter all these years.”

The Hall of Fame recognizes dedicated members whose RPAC investments total an aggregate of at least $25,000. Members are inducted at NAR Realtor meetings in Washington, D.C., and are recognized with a lapel pin and an inscription of their name on a commemorative plaque on the rooftop of NAR’s building in D.C.

“Supporting people who know the value of homeownership rights is vital. RPAC has given us the opportunity to be involved and give back to the community,” says Garvin, who’s worked on several local political campaigns for people running for city council. “To see the candidates we helped get elected grow and move on to do great things is rewarding.”

Garvin also supported NEFAR’s and Florida Realtors’ efforts advocating to remove a sales tax on that state lawmakers had approved on advertising and professional services (repealed in 1987).

She recalls, “That was such a fiasco, as it impacted anyone who provided a service to the community. Getting that defeated was a huge success.”

Garvin has been active in local, state, and national Realtor associations throughout her career, and currently serves as the chairperson of the NEFAR’s Charitable Trust. She also serves on her local association’s Professional Standards, Legislative and Candidate Screening committees.

Florida Realtors® serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 187,000 members in 52 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Media Center website is available at http://media.floridarealtors.org.

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Florida Realtors®: Which Home Improvements Offer the Best Return?

Florida Realtors®: Which Home Improvements Offer the Best Return?

ORLANDO, Fla. – Before tackling a home improvement project, Florida Realtors® recommends that a homeowner do a little research first. For example, if a home improvement project costs $1,000, how much money will the homeowner get back if he sells the home – what is the return on investment (ROI)? For 2019, a garage door replacement offers the best return, at 97.5% of costs recouped at resale, according to Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value Report.

The 2019 report surveyed more than 3,200 real estate professionals about returns for 22 projects in 136 U.S. markets, an increase from 100 markets last year. It compares the cost of popular remodeling projects to how much the investment will improve a home’s resale value.

For all projects, the overall cost-to-value ratio is 66.1 percent, which is slightly ahead of last year but well below the decade-high of 71.2 percent in 2014.

As in prior years, there are significant variations in different regions. The average payback nationwide for the 22 projects in the 2019 Cost vs. Value report ranges from a high of 123.8 percent for a garage door replacement in the Pacific region, to a low of 45.0 percent for an upscale master suite addition in the mid-Atlantic region.

Due in part to sharp increases in material costs, the percentage of costs recouped at sale time is trending downward for all the replacement projects. Material costs tend to comprise a greater proportion of replacement projects compared with larger indoor remodels, however, which have a higher percentage of labor costs.

2019 top 10 projects by percentage of cost recouped

  1. Garage door replacement (97.5%)
  2. Manufactured stone veneer (94.9%)
  3. Mid-range minor kitchen remodel (80.5%)
  4. Wood deck addition (75.6%)
  5. Siding replacement (75.6%)
  6. Steel entry door replacement (74.9%)
  7. Vinyl window replacement (73.4%)
  8. Fiberglass grand entrance (71.9%)
  9. Wood window replacement (70.8%)
  10. Composite deck addition (69.1%)

 

Highlights from 2019 report

  1. Rising materials costs impact rates of return
    While the overall changes are modest, the latest Cost vs. Value report reflects the robust market the remodeling industry has enjoyed over the past year. But costs have correspondingly increased, and in some cases, significantly so. These increases are likely due to the tariffs that have roiled commodity markets, which have led to a slight downturn in the percentage of costs recouped for some projects; but overall, returns are up slightly compared to last year.
  2. Curb appeal projects continue to provide the highest returns
    Nine out of the top 10 high-return projects are exterior replacement – or high curb appeal – projects. The three exterior projects with the highest recoup on investment are garage door replacement (97.5%), manufactured stone veneer installation (94.9%), and a wood deck addition (75.6%). Siding replacement and window projects also provided high returns, with the highest recouping interior project being a minor kitchen remodel (80.5%).
  3. New for 2019
    Two new projects were added to the 2019 Cost vs. Value Report. The first is a roofing replacement job that adds standing-seam metal roofing. Compared with asphalt shingles, metal roofing costs significantly more but brings with it much greater durability. The second project is a revamp of the universal design bathroom, which was first introduced to Cost vs. Value in 2017. While the overall dimensions and features of the current project are comparable, the finishes and mechanicals – including tiled walls and shower, humidity-controlled ventilation and radiant-heat floors – are more consistent with an upscale project than the previous specs allowed.
  4. Think like a broker
    The reason for high returns on exterior projects, and especially façade facelifts, stems from the valuations set by the real estate community. “Curb appeal” and “first impressions” are central to a real estate professional’s estimation of resale value. Granted, a home’s exterior will only persuade potential buyers to see more, and first impressions can vary from one individual to the next. But the impact these impressions make is critical in setting the stage for what a buyer is willing to pay for a home.

 

Florida Realtors® serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 187,000 members in 52 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Media Center website is available at http://media.floridarealtors.org.

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Home Staging: Does It Help Sell a Home?

Home Staging: Does It Help Sell a Home?

ORLANDO, Fla. – If “all the world’s a stage,” as Shakespeare said, then a home is fertile ground for staging, too – and it can help sell that home, according to a new survey from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

The survey, NAR’s 2019 Profile of Home Staging, found that 83 percent of buyers’ agents say staging makes it easier for buyers to visualize a property as their future home. What is staging, exactly? It’s the practice of styling and furnishing a property for sale in a way that enhances its attractiveness to potential buyers. Fans of many homebuying and selling TV shows on HGTV or DIY networks are familiar with staging, how it works and ups the home’s appeal to potential buyers.

More than half of sellers’ real estate agents said that staging a home decreases the amount of time a home spends on the market, with 25 percent saying that it greatly decreases the time and 28 percent saying it slightly decreases the time, the report said.

TV’s impact on homebuyers

The report contains a new section called “Buyer Expectations,” which focuses on how home buying television shows impact Realtors’ businesses and how they’ve changed homebuyers’ views about the home buying process.

While 38 percent of respondents say that television shows on the home buying process have had an impact on their business, 32 percent witnessed no impact and 31 percent do not know if they have an impact.

The report found that 20 percent of buyers were disappointed by how “real” homes look compared to homes they saw on television shows; 39 percent of respondents found the home buying process more difficult than they expected; and 10 percent of respondents say that buyers felt homes should look the way they do when staged on TV shows.

Only 6 percent of buyers’ agents said that staging had no impact on buyers, while 40 percent said staging has an effect and 52 percent said staging affects some buyers.

Staging’s impact on the home sale

Buyers’ agents say that the living room is the most important room to stage (47 percent). The next most important are the master bedroom (42 percent) and then the kitchen (35 percent). Sellers agents agree but in reverse order. The guest bedroom is considered least important.

Forty-four percent of buyers’ agents report that staging increased the financial offer on a home; 25 percent say it increases its dollar value by 1 to 5 percent, and 12 percent said it increases the dollar value 6 to 10 percent. But 29 percent of buyers’ agents say it has no impact on dollar value. Only 1 percent of buyers’ agents felt it has a negative impact.

Sellers’ agents report even more value added from staging: 22 percent reported an increase of 1 to 5 percent in dollar value; 17 percent reported an increase of 6 to 10 percent; 5 percent reported an increase of 11 to 15 percent; and 2 percent reported an increase of 16 to 20 percent.

No sellers’ agents reported a negative impact from home staging.

When deciding which homes to stage, 28 percent of sellers’ agents say they stage all of their clients’ homes before listing them, while 45 do not stage homes before listing them, though they do recommend that sellers declutter their homes and fix any faults within the property. Another 13 percent said they stage only difficult-to-sell homes, and 7 percent stage only homes in higher price brackets.

Who pays for the home staging? The seller pays before listing the home 18 percent of the time, while sellers’ agents personally provide funds in 26 percent of cases; 17 percent of the time, agents will offer home staging services.

In addition to staging, 95 percent of agents recommend decluttering the home, 89 percent recommend an entire home cleaning and 83 percent recommend removing pets from the home during showings. Other pre-sale projects include carpet cleaning, depersonalizing the home and making minor repairs.

Florida Realtors® serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 187,000 members in 52 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Media Center website is available at http://media.floridarealtors.org.

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Who Are Millennial Home Buyers?

Who Are Millennial Home Buyers?

ORLANDO, Fla. – Millennials are the largest buying force in the housing industry, according to the recent 2019 “Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Report,” released by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

This generation of buyers, between the ages of 21 and 38, account for 37 percent of all home purchases, the report found.

Older millennials – those ages 29 to 38 – make up the largest share of married buyers, at 69 percent, and are the most likely to have children under the age of 18 living at home, at 58 percent. Their top motivating factors for buying include the desire to own their own home (42 percent), the desire for a larger home (15 percent), relocation for a job (9 percent), a change in familial status (7 percent), and the desire for a home in a better location (6 percent).

Older millennials have a median household income of $101,200, according to NAR’s report, and purchase homes with a median price of $274,000. That’s comparable to Gen Xers, who have a median income of $111,100 and purchase homes with a median price of $277,800, and younger baby boomers ($102,300 and $251,100, respectively).

Millennials are the generation most likely to make compromises on their home purchases, the report found. They also plan to stay in their homes for 10 years – a shorter time than Gen Xers, who plan to stay 16 or more years.

Millennials also rely on real estate professionals when completing a home purchase, with younger millennials between the ages of 21 and 28 being more likely than any other age group (87 percent) to use an agent’s services.

Some of the top benefits that millennials said real estate agents provide are:

  • Help to understand the process (72 percent)
  • Point out unnoticed features/faults with property (58 percent)
  • Negotiate better sales contract terms (49 percent)
  • Provide a better list of service providers, such as home inspectors (49 percent)
  • Improve buyer’s knowledge of search areas (41 percent)
  • Negotiate a better price (35 percent)

The report found that millennials place high value on communication with their real estate agents. They value agents who personally inform them of all activities; send updates as soon as a property is listed, price changes and a warning if one goes under contract. They also like communication via text message or email, providing they address their specific needs.

Among features on agents’ websites, millennials found these to be most important: photos, detailed listing information, floor plans, information on recently sold properties and virtual tours. They found videos (23 percent) and real estate news or articles (8 percent) the least helpful, according to the report.

Additional millennial highlights from NAR’s report

  • Commutes are a major factor in millennial real estate decisions. Commuting costs were one of the top factors weighed when choosing which home to buy.
  • They often have financial help. Buyers aged 38 and younger are the most likely to receive a gift from relatives or friends to help with their downpayment to purchase a home.
  • One in five younger millennial buyers is unmarried, and the share of single first-time buyers is growing.
  • They’re fleeing the nest. Thirty percent of younger millennials lived with their parents prior to buying their own home.
  • They’re searching for affordability. One in five younger millennials purchased a home in rural areas, and 13 percent in small towns. Those figures are the same for younger baby boomers.
  • They want to stay close to family. Younger millennials – just like baby boomers and those from the silent generation – are the most likely to say they want to be near friends or family when they buy a home.

Florida Realtors® serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 187,000 members in 52 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Media Center website is available at http://media.floridarealtors.org.

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Fla.’s Housing Market: Pending Sales, Median Prices Up in March 2019

Fla.’s Housing Market: Pending Sales, Median Prices Up in March 2019

ORLANDO, Fla., April 22, 2019 – Florida’s housing market reported more pending sales, higher median prices and increased inventory (active listings) in March compared to a year ago, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 25,013 last month, about the same level as March 2018.

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Enter to Win Florida Realtors® Environmental (ENVY) Award

Enter to Win Florida Realtors® Environmental (ENVY) Award

ORLANDO, Fla., April 9, 2019 – Don’t wait to enter Florida Realtors® annual Environmental Award program, or you may be green with ENVY when the winner is chosen. Popularly known as the “ENVY” award, the honor goes to a development that best preserves Florida’s natural quality of life. The award may be given in two categories: one for residential development and one for commercial development.

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