Be Prepared for Closing Costs

Saving for a down payment in preparation for buying a new home is pretty common knowledge. With the mortgage meltdown, most mortgages that allowed zero down payments disappeared. While FHA and VA loans still offer little to no money down, most potential homebuyers will need to save at least 5-20% of the home value.

Unfortunately, many first-time homebuyers are dismayed to learn that in addition to the large down payment, they also owe thousands of dollars in closing costs that they might not have expected. The national average for closing costs ranges from 2-4% of the purchase price, which adds considerably to the amount of savings needed to buy a home. In addition, while not a closing cost, most lenders also require a savings reserve equal to at least two months of the mortgage payment. Needless to say, it adds up.

Let’s break these costs down.

Closing costs include fees charged by the escrow or closing attorney, as well as costs associated with obtaining a home loan, including:

• Escrow fees

• Title search and filing fees

• Appraisal fees

• Home inspection fees

• Wire transfer fees

• Loan costs – These include what are termed “points”; each point is 1% of the purchase price and is used as both commission for the lending officer and as an upfront fee to reduce the loan interest rate.

These are just a few of the extra costs associate with buying and closing on a new home. It’s important to know these costs ahead of time, so potential homebuyers can save the appropriate amount of money needed to buy a home. Nobody wants to be surprised by unexpected costs and and end up missing out on the perfect property.

Tips for the First-Time Home Seller

There is a lot of attention paid to first-time homebuyers. Most real estate agents and lenders have some kind of guide to help first-time homebuyers navigate their first home purchase, but what about the first-time seller?

Selling your home for the first time can be just as confusing as a home purchase, so here are a few things to remember as you navigate your home sale.

Before that first showing, it’s important to prepare. This involves not only cleaning, decluttering, and staging the home, but also learning about your local real estate market and finding the best agent for your needs.

Interview more than one agent and ask lots of questions. Learn about the services they offer: do they include professional photography, video, or virtual tours? Ask for a comprehensive market analysis (CMA) and ask each agent their suggestion for the listing price and their method for arriving at that number. Use this information to determine the best agent to assist you.

Once you have an agent, stay involved. Discuss the plan for showings and open houses. Try and be flexible to allow for as many potential buyers as possible viewing your property. Review the listing online for accuracy and stay in touch with your agent for feedback from showings.

Once you start getting offers, respond as quickly as possible. It’s not just about the price; watch for terms, such as length of escrow and contingencies, when evaluating these offers. Be prepared to move so that you can take advantage of a good offer, such as all-cash.

The most important aspect of a successful home sale is the relationship you have with your agent. Be transparent about your needs, concerns, and goals; insist that your agent do the same, and working together you will navigate through your first home sale successfully.

10 Simple Tips for Better Home Showings

1. Remove clutter and clear off counters. Throw out stacks of newspapers and magazines and stow away most of your small decorative items. Put excess furniture in storage, and remove out-of-season clothing items that are cramping closet space. Don’t forget to clean out the garage, too.

2. Wash your windows and screens. This will help get more light into the interior of the home.

3. Keep everything extra clean. A clean house will make a strong first impression and send a message to buyers that the home has been well-cared for. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates, mop and wax floors, and clean the stove and refrigerator. Polish your doorknobs and address numbers. It’s worth hiring a cleaning service if you can afford it.

4. Get rid of smells. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Open the windows to air out the house. Potpourri or scented candles will help – but don’t go overboard trying to cover up.

5. Brighten your rooms. Put higher wattage bulbs in light fixtures to brighten up rooms and basements. Replace any burned-out bulbs in closets. Clean the walls, or better yet, brush on a fresh coat of neutral color paint.

6. Don’t disregard minor repairs. Small problems such as sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet may seem trivial, but they’ll give buyers the impression that the house isn’t well- maintained.

7. Tidy your yard. Cut the grass, rake the leaves, add new mulch, trim the bushes, edge the walkways, and clean the gutters. For added curb appeal, place a pot of bright flowers near the entryway.

8. Add a touch of color in the living room. A colored throw on the couch will jazz up a dull room. Buy new accent pillows for the sofa.

9. Make centerpieces for your tables. Use brightly colored fruit or flowers.

10. Set the scene. Set the table with fancy dishes and candles, and create other vignettes throughout the home to help buyers picture living there.

10 Questions to Ask the Condo Board


Before you buy, contact the condo board with the following questions. In the process, you’ll learn how responsive — and organized — its members are. You’ll also be alerted to potential problems with the property.

  1. What percentage of units is owner-occupied? What percentage is tenant-occupied? Generally, the higher the percentage of owner-occupied units, the more marketable the units will be at resale.
  2. What covenants, bylaws, and restrictions govern the property? What grandfather clauses are in place? You may find, for instance, that those who buy a property after a certain date can’t rent out their units, but buyers who bought earlier can. Ask for a copy of the bylaws to determine if you can live within them. And have an attorney review property docs, including the master deed, for you.
  3. How much does the association keep in reserve? Plus, find out how that money is being invested.
  4. Are association assessments keeping pace with the annual rate of inflation? Smart boards raise assessments a certain percentage each year to build reserves to fund future repairs. To determine if the assessment is reasonable, compare the rate to others in the area.
  5. What does and doesn’t the assessment cover? Does the assessment include common-area maintenance, recreational facilities, and trash collection?
  6. What special assessments have been mandated in the past five years? How much was each owner responsible for? Some special assessments are unavoidable. But repeated, expensive assessments could be a red flag about the condition of the building or the board’s fiscal policy.
  7. How much turnover occurs in the building? This will tell you if residents are generally happy with the building. According to research by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, owners of condos in two-to-four unit buildings stay for a median of five years, and owners of condos in a building with five or more units stay for a median of four years.
  8. Is the condo building in litigation? This is never a good sign. If the builders or home owners are involved in a lawsuit, reserves can be depleted quickly.
  9. Is the developer reputable? Find out what other projects the developer has built and visit one if you can. Ask residents about their perceptions. Request an engineer’s report for developments that have been reconverted from other uses to determine what shape the building is in. If the roof, windows, and bricks aren’t in good repair, they become your problem once you buy.
  10. Are multiple associations involved in the property? In very large developments, umbrella associations, as well as the smaller association into which you’re buying, may require separate assessments.

Ready to Start Your Condo Search?

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Featured Properties

Vacation Home Sales Skyrocketed Last Year


The National Association of Realtors reported that vacation home purchases made up 21% of all homes sales last year. The highest level since 2003 and a 57% increase from 2013.

Why the dramatic surge? Families, especially the top 10%, are feeling more confident in the local housing market, as well as, strong performances in the stock market.

According to NAR, the typical second-home buyer had a median household income of $94,380, 58% had two income earners and 48% financed less than 70% of the purchase price.

Another telling factor that the real estate market will continue to surge, NAR’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun pointed out that baby boomers are on the tipping point of retirement. In fact, 19% of all vacation homebuyers plan to eventually make their second home their primary residence.

So what does this mean for the Florida real estate market?

46% of the vacation homes purchased were located in the South. On a local level the Naples Area Board of Realtors (NABOR) is reporting that the luxury real estate marketing in Naples remains to be strong.


According to NABOR, closed sales increased 14% in the $1Million to $2 Million+ price segment and increased 13% in the $2Million+ price segment.


With continually decreasing inventory and strong market conditions, the Naples real estate market remains strong. If you are a homeowner that’s kept your eye on the market and believe you have equity in your home, contact us to confirm your growth in your investment. It may be the right time to sell.

Thinking of buying or selling in Naples?

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Featured Properties

1st Time Homebuyers Tips & Tricks to Increase Your Credit Score


Buying your first home is an exciting, but sometimes scary endeavor. One of the first hurdles to get over before you can start home shopping is ensuring you can obtain a home loan. The single most important number that follows you throughout your entire adult life is your credit score. Ultimately, your credit score will determine whether you will fulfill your dreams of buying a home.

What does your credit score say about you? Generally speaking, your credit score tells a story to your lender. It shows the likelihood of you being able to pay off your home loan based on your credit history. Your credit history shows whether your bills were paid on time, the amount of debt you have, and the length of credit history you’ve established. All these factors will lead to you being approved or declined for a home loan. If you’re approved, your credit score is also a factor for determining your interest rate. Quite simply, the better your credit score, the better your interest rate.

Now, let’s break down the contributing factors that make up your credit score. Knowing this information will help you be prepared, and quite possibility help you make better decisions regarding your financial health.

Contributing Factors to your credit score

  • Length of credit history
    1. Contributes to 15% of FICO score
    2. Having longer credit history positively affects score
    3. Short credit history can hurt your score
  • Utilization of your credit cards
    1. Contributes to 30% of FICO score
    2. High balances on cards = more debt = hurts score
  • Your Payment history
    1. Contributes to 35% of FICO score
    2. Having long history of paying bills on time is beneficial
  • New Credit Cards
    1. Contributes to 10% of FICO score
    2. Lenders interpret a borrower who has opened multiple credit cards in a short period of time as having financial trouble
  • Credit Mix
    1. Contributes to 10% of FICO score
      1. Have a variety of debt
      2. Tells lenders you can handle different types of payments
        1. Student Loans
        2. Car Loans
        3. Credit Cards

If your credit score is in need of some help, here are some steps to take that will lead to increasing your credit score over time.

  • Make sure you have no collections
  • Keep credit card balances low
    • Pay off high debt multiple times a month – not just once a month
    • Percentage of available credit that has been borrowed.
      • Don’t utilize more the 35% of your credit line
    • Continue to utilize all credit cards – Inactive cards can hurt credit
      • Keep small balances on each card
  • Don’t miss any payments
    • Don’t open too many credit cards at one time
      • Multiple inquiries of your credit being pulled drops your score
  • How to monitor of your score.
    • Know your score from all three National Credit Bureaus before applying for a home mortgage.
      • Three Credit Bureaus
        • Equifax
        • Experian and
        • Transunion
      • Use a Free Credit Check Company
        • Pull scores from 2/3 of the top credit bureaus without creating credit inquiries from:
          • Transunion
          • Equifax

By being aware of tools to increase your credit score and overall financial health, you can help your chances of obtaining a home loan and purchasing your first home. Just remember, before you apply for a home loan, know that your credit score plays a big part in the interest rate. Be aware, prepared, and ready to apply when you know your credit score is high.



Pros and Cons of Going Condo


When buying real estate in Florida, condominiums, at a first glance, are an appealing option for a second home. You show up, enjoy maintenance-free leaving, and when you’re ready to head back north, you simply lock the door behind you.

We’re breaking down the pros and cons of condominium living, so get ready to immerse yourself in all things condo.


Amenities: Condos are known for their glamorous swimming pools, over-the-top fitness centers, fancy social rooms, and many other amenities to make your condo living experience feel like you’re living at a five-start hotel. Taking advantage of these amenities is a huge plus since you’re sharing in the cost with other owners, as opposed to shelling out the cash yourself in a single family home.

Maintenance: If you’re a busy traveler coming and going to your getaway condo, then maintenance-free living is a priority. Most condos have on-site managers to take care of common areas and keep the grounds looking pristine.

Security: Many condos are gated with on-site security in the gatehouse so you can sleep sounding knowing you’re safe.

Beautiful Views: If you’re looking to buy a second home with a beautiful water view, then a condo purchase is most likely your best bet. You certainly will have more options in getting a gorgeous high-rise view without shelling out the cost of a single-family home on the water.


Storage: Without a 2 car garage, which most single-family residences come with, storage can be a challenge. Many condos come with locker storage, but without the added space, tell your man to say goodbye to his workbench and tools.

Outdoor Space: If you’re a gardener at heart, you might find condo living a challenge. Some people love to piddle in their yards with gardens and flowers. If you don’t have a green thumb, then not having the headache of mowing the lawn and maintaining a yard is a SUPER plus.

Reserve Funds and Associate Fees: All condo associations have maintenance fees to keep the buildings and grounds looking beautiful, but of course, that comes at a price. When buying a condo, be sure to research the condominiums financials and reserve fund so you’re investing in a condo association with a sound financial future.

As we’ve seen, there are several pros and cons to condo living. The secret? Find the style of living that best suits you!

Ready to start your condo search?

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Why You Should Work with Beth Rose

Aside from growing up in the real estate business, Beth Rose has built her company with deep relationships within the community. Developing these relationships with community leaders, local investors, and a dynamic sphere of influence, Beth has learned from the ground up what it takes to represent clients well, and get the deal closed.

Within her 30+ years in the business, Beth has become a top producing Realtor and Auctioneer. While developing her craft, she invested in top talent to create an award-winning marketing team. This team is comprised of industry specialists where every client that works with Beth Rose, has the support of her entire team.

Many clients have had a previous encounter when buying or selling their home, where the experience wasn’t as pleasant. Some of the biggest frustrations she hears are communication barriers, long listing periods with no activity, or not getting the exposure their home thought it deserved.

Luckily, the Beth Rose team works closely with all clients, buyers and sellers, to communicate step by step throughout the process, leaving no surprises. We believe communication is so important, that we have our own Director of Client Services that is specifically designed to make sure our clients have a direct point of contact at any stage in the process.

How do we know our methods are successful? The proof is in the numbers.

Among top producing Realtors, Beth Rose has the lowest Days on the Market statistic – at 75 days. That means, on average, when Beth signs up a listing or an auction it takes 75 days from sign up to closing. Some of her competitors average Days of the Market are more than double that number!

If you’re feeling frustrated with the buying or selling process, Beth Rose and her team would welcome the opportunity to help.

Radon Gas, Are You at Risk?

Radon gas is a topic that buyers and sellers need to be aware of when purchasing and selling a home. High levels of radon gas over a prolonged period of time can be very serious, as the gas can cause lung cancer. According to the United State Environmental Protection Agency, radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Radon is responsible for 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year (source: EPA).

What is radon gas?

Radon gas is a natural, radioactive gas that comes from the ground into buildings. This gas is a by-product of the radioactive decay of uranium. It becomes very dangerous because it cannot be detected by sight, smell, or taste.

How can radon get into your home?

Depending on the amount of uranium content in the earth’s surface, radon gas can drift through foundation cracks, pores of floor slabs, and even floor and wall joints. Other entry points are through openings around sump pumps and floor drains. Radon can also enter your home through the water system, where ground water is the main supply.

What is a safe level of radon gas?

The EPA’s standard for radon suggests a home should test less than 4 pCo/l, otherwise, a home would be flagged as containing high amounts of radon gas. Be sure to properly test your home.

Learn more about radon gas and protecting your home.