Your Future Home and The Importance of a Backup Fund

Your Future Home and The Importance of a Backup Fund

After decades of working with first-time home buyers, I’ve given countless pieces of advice. But one of the most important involves one simple idea. And that’s ensuring that you have a backup fund for when you first move in.

Now, I know that across the Internet there are articles telling you how vital your credit score is; or how important it is to understand your homeowner’s insurance policy. In fact, we’ve even talked about those exact topics here at the Records Results Real Estate blog.

And they are critical to buying your first home anywhere. But at the same time, I like to also suggest that you have a backup fund. This fund acts as a cushion for anything that you may need the first year you’re in your home. To give you an idea of exactly what I mean, here are a few of the items you may need or want when you buy your first home.

Upgrading your appliances

While it’s unlikely you’ll have an issue with your refrigerator or stove during your first year, let’s face it… you may want something a bit snazzier. This could mean a bigger model or a more energy efficient one, but with a backup fund, you can choose a new one without worry about your monthly budget.

Installing new fencing

Today, new homeowners are choosing to replace older fencing with vinyl alternatives right away. This is because these fences provide a longer life and a different style than in the past.

Managing your moving costs

If you’re planning on hiring a moving company, this is another area that a backup fund can come into handy. Whether you need to grab extra boxes or pay for another day of help to get the job done, you won’t have to stress for a second.

Setting up your utility for your new home

Because new first-time home buyers often are juggling many different things, they can also sometimes forget about utility setup costs. The last thing you want to worry about is a cost that’s slipped your mind. But with your backup fund, you’ll be able to take care of that utility fee to get up and running!

Cleaning carpeting or flooring

When you first get in your new home, you may want to do a deep cleaning for your own peace of mind. That could mean renting a carpet cleaner or even having a professional team come out to polish your vintage terrazzo flooring.

Servicing your AC unit

If you’re buying your first home in Southwest Florida, I definitely recommend this one. Paying a professional from your backup fund for an AC servicing can put your mind at ease, especially during the summer.

Picking out your paint colors

Many of the new home buyers I’ve worked with are eager to make their new home theirs. And this is very true when it comes to painting rooms, front doors, or the entire house. With a backup fund set aside in addition to your other home-buying funds, you’ll be able to choose your paint colors without a second thought… well, at least not a second thought about the money.

Are you a first-time home buyer in Southwest Florida? I’d love to make your experience as smooth as possible. Let’s talk!

Terry Records

Broker/Owner
Records Results Real Estate
Residential Sales and Property Management Service

Terry.Records@gmail.com

239-887-2163

Choosing an Offer when Selling Your Home

Choosing an Offer When Selling Your Home

In areas throughout the country and especially in Southwest Florida, real estate is enjoying solid increases in value. And because homes are still affordable in our area, we’re seeing homes buyers receive multiple offers at a time. For my clients, our team helps them sort through the offers and to choose what’s best for their real estate goals.

But I wanted to share a few of our tips with you here today. This way, if you’re selling your home, in Southwest Florida or beyond, you’ll have some of the best advice for choosing an offer when you get more than one.

You don’t have to choose the highest offer

When I tell some clients this fact, they’re very surprised. After all, we’re often taught that money is the highest priority in a transaction. However, you also have to consider your other goals in the process and balance them against each other.

Review the buyer’s closing dates

If you’re selling your home, but also buying another one yourself, you may be on a very tight schedule. What this means is that your buyer’s closing dates can affect your own situation. Consider how each offer factors into your timeline.

You also want to check the contingencies

In addition, buyer contingencies can greatly impact a real estate deal. In fact, your buyer could even call off the entire deal up until right before signing! Financing contingencies are just one example, but there’s also factors that include your buyer selling their home to proceed with your deal.

Factor in your home’s appraisal

I’ve seen it in the past where a buyer makes a strong offer… and when the appraiser comes in to assess the property, they value it at less than the offer. It’s one reason that pricing your home is so important in any market. But this is one area that we’ll pay special attention to when we sell your Southwest Florida real estate.

Consider if your buyer is local or out-of-state

While this one may not be a deal breaker, it can help give you additional insight on your buyer’s timeline. For example, a local buyer may be able to act more quickly if obstacles arise in the home inspection or a similar part of the process.

You don’t want to forget about buyer extras

Finally, every buyer has their own unique goals. And because of those goals, they may add in extras to their offer. This can include, for example, having the seller cover closing costs. As you can see, going with the highest dollar amount isn’t always the best choice for every seller.

But let’s talk about your options when it comes to selling your home in Southwest Florida! Send me an email, so we can take a look at what’s best for you and your financial goals!

Terry Records

Broker/Owner
Records Results Real Estate
Residential Sales and Property Management Service

Terry.Records@gmail.com

239-887-2163

6 Considerations When You’re Buying a New Home in SWFL or Beyond

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When you’re buying a new home, it can seem like there is so much to keep in mind. From how your finances affect your credit score to pricing trends and more, it can sometimes feel like a complex process for many buyers.

But when you’re buying a home in SWFL or beyond, you have a trusted resource with the Records Results Real Estate team. For my team, we strive to simplify the home buying process while helping you to see all your options. So this week, my team has put together a list of questions to help you narrow down the homes you may have your eye on.

Does the home fit my lifestyle?

First and foremost, it’s a good idea to understand how a property fits your lifestyle. After all, if you simply must host backyard get-together at your Southwest Florida home, a home without a backyard might not make sense.

How easily can I access the amenities I love?

This is also true for the amenities you plan on using the most. For example, maybe you love the food scene in Downtown Fort Myers. So it makes sense to give extra consideration to a property that places you closer to the fun.

What’s the cost of living like?

I’ve said it once, but I’ll say it again: Southwest Florida offers home choices at a price that’s incomparable when it comes to other areas like San Francisco or New York. Add in our slightly lower-than-national cost of living, and you have a strong reason for buying a home in this area.

What did my home inspector say about the property?

Understanding the ins and outs of any property is a huge part of the home buying process, whether you’re buying a home in Southwest Florida or San Diego. Without question, you should give extra consideration to all the points your home inspector discovers about your future property.

What do commute times look like?

Although more and more people are working from home these days, many of us still travel to the office. But when you buy a home, consider how the areas you’re looking in will factor into your daily commute. This can mean the difference of many hours saved at the end of your week. 

How did the previous owners care for the property?

Finally, one of my biggest tips is also one that you might not hear as often. As you compare properties, consider how the previous owner appears to have cared for them. This is a little different than just getting a home inspector’s report and gives you a wider perspective on any property.

Are you considering a home in Southwest Florida? Let my team make the experience as smooth as possible for you!

Terry Records

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Broker/Owner
Records Results Real Estate
Residential Sales and Property Management Service

Terry.Records@gmail.com

239-887-2163

Your New Resident Guide to Southwest Florida’s Best Beaches

 

Your New Resident Guide to Southwest Floridas Best Beaches

 

In the past, we’ve seen just how diverse the beaches are here in our little part of paradise. And when you own a home in Southwest Florida, you learn to keep a list of your favorite ones for any occasion. But what if you’re new to the area?

Well, the team at Records Results Real Estate has the perfect list for you. When it comes to these beaches, in most cases, they’re a little more well-known. Although that means there might be bigger crowds on the weekend, these beaches remain Florida favorites for a reason. And each one is a must-see for new residents in Southwest Florida!

Siesta Key is Perfect  for New Residents to Southwest Florida

Siesta Key Beach is probably one of the most famous ones, along with a few others. And when you visit it, you’ll see why. The quaint strip around the beach is perfect for enjoying yourself, while the sugar sand is absolutely beautiful. In many ways, this beach is the perfect example of just how amazing Florida beaches can be. But make sure to arrive earlier to beat the crowds.

Boca Grande is a Hidden Gem Loved by Locals

A little more hidden, the beaches on Boca Grande are a real treat, especially if you’re a new resident. In fact, these beaches are well-known by many locals due to their stunning blue waters. In addition, the fishing around Boca Grande is said to be incredibly decent by those in-the-know. Because Boca Grande is off-the-beaten-path, you’ll be able to enjoy them without huge crowds, but keep in mind, that they’re still fairly popular among locals.

Bowman’s Beach Offers Unsurpassed Shelling

If you’ve ever visited Sanibel Island or you’re thinking about buying a home on Sanibel, you know that several of the beaches are popular. Yet, they all remain fairly less crowded than many other beaches throughout the world. My favorite, and one I always recommend for new residents in Southwest Florida, is Bowman’s Beach. The shelling is second to none at this one!

Fort Myer’s Beach Provides Fun Without Huge Crowds

Of course, I couldn’t leave off this one for our new residents. Fort Myer’s Beach is definitely a bit more tourist-feeling than some of our other choices here, but it still tends to fly under the radar. This is especially true when you compare it to other beaches in the state that draw huge crowds. At the same time, Fort Myer’s Beach is a fun stop to hang out at and catch some sun.

Lover’s Key is a Retreat You Have to See

Another must-see for new residents to SWFL, Lover’s Key is one you have to see to believe. As a state park, it gives visitors and residents a chance to kayak untouched Florida lands. But the real treat is the beach, where you can experience one of the best beaches in the entire world… without the crowds.

Are you searching for a home in Southwest Florida and need a guide to the area? I’m your choice! Let’s talk about all your options.

Terry Records

Broker/Owner
Records Results Real Estate
Residential Sales and Property Management Service

Terry.Records@gmail.com

239-887-2163

 

 

9 Places to Find Extra Money for Your 1st Down Payment

9 Places to Find Extra Money for Your 1st Down Payment

If you’re buying your first home in Southwest Florida or beyond, you’ve probably given your down payment a lot of thought. After all, the larger of one you can put down, the lower your monthly mortgage may be. In addition, placing an offer with a strong down payment can help you move forward in the line when it comes to other buyers. On that note, I know that first time home buyers are always looking for ways to maximize that down payment, by almost any means necessary. So here are some I recommend that can really add up over time!

Cut on luxury expenses

This want could be very personal as we all have some pleasures that we simply can’t do without – maybe your premium coffee! But think of where you can give up something for a year leading up to your down payment. You will be surprised at how much you can really save when you’re conscious of your spending habits.

Sell your old stuff

You may have an old guitar from college that’s been gathering dust. Or perhaps you were big into a sport, but you’ve recently switch tracks in your life. Selling those old items can net a little extra money in a hurry on sites like Craigslist.

Stay with family for a few months

Because your saving up for your first down payment, you’re probably also currently paying rent. But staying with family that last month or two before you make an offer on a home can save you some serious cash in a hurry.

Get rid of credit card debt

That year leading up to your first down payment can make a difference in terms of any annual percentage rates that are adding up on credit cards. At 10% or higher, any dollars can add up over the life of that debt.

Use cash back rewards

Speaking of credit cards, if you’re disciplined about paying them off every month, those cash back points can also help with your down payment. While it may be tempting to think that a few extra dollars here and there aren’t much, over a year, they can really make a difference.

Set aside your tax refund or bonus

This one might be a no brainer, but you’d be surprised how often it’s overlooked. By earmarking your next tax refund or bonus for your down payment, you’re immediately giving your funds a boost without a second thought.

Pull out funds to a separate account

Another simple trick is to automate your accounts in a way that you’re pulling out a certain amount every month and placing it in a separate account. This has the benefit that you won’t simply spend money that’s in your account, helping you to discipline your spending habits at one of the most important times in your life.

Pick up a side gig during the weekend

From Uber to Craigslist, picking up a side gig, even for a few months can really help you add to your down payment. You could even try a few!

Invite over family for a party

You might be wondering how this one will help you with your down payment. But it’s simple: by throwing a get-together and giving family a chance to contribute to a down payment fund, you’re opening the door into letting them into your fun of owning your own home. Even a little bit of money from this sort of event can help!

What about you, what tips do you have for first time home buyers to save a little extra cash for their down payment? Leave a comment and share your idea!

Terry Records

Broker/Owner
Records Results Real Estate
Residential Sales and Property Management Service

Terry.Records@gmail.com

239-887-2163

 

 

9 Pinterest Bathroom Ideas You Simply Must See

 

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For our regular readers, you know how much I love to find home ideas on places like Pinterest and Instagram. As a Southwest Florida Realtor, I’m always keeping my finger on the pulse of decorating trends, DIY solutions, and so much more. Of course, I also love to share these ideas with you as we discover Southwest Florida together. After all, whether you’re buying or selling a home, you probably have these topics on your mind. So today, I thought we could do a Pinterest roundup of bathrooms that are full of interesting ideas and see what makes them work. This way, during your next bathroom upgrade, you’ll have plenty of options at your fingertips. (And make sure you’re logged into Pinterest to more easily see each individual pin in this list!)

A Retro Feel

To start, let’s take a look at this bathroom with a vintage feel. Working with a smaller space can be a challenge, but this bathroom takes a tiny area and does all the right things. I love how it’s clean, fresh, but totally retro.

Something a Little Different

The quirkiness of these eclectic tiles is really inspiring. Paired with the wainscoting in a color that compliments, but doesn’t overwhelm, and you’ve turned a small place into a quaint retreat.

Bold and Modern

There’s two factors that I love about this bathroom. First, the blacks and whites provide a stunning, bold look. Add in an intense, but simple splash of yellow, and you have something truly unique.

Refreshingly Noticeable

This bathroom idea is perfect for Southwest Florida. A completely clean feel comes together when you place a rug that really elevates the room. The vibrancy of the blue has you feeling like you’re submerged in cool water the entire time.

Under-the-sea Everyday

As a Southwest Florida Realtor, I can really appreciate this one. The gold trim is a nice touch to a whimsical, under-the-sea sensation provided by a well-chosen backdrop.

Functional and Natural

Another part of your bathroom that helps refine a look is the storage. This bathroom combines the feeling of natural wood with functional storage underneath that’s just the right match.

Luxurious and Contemporary

Okay, I’m in love with this bathroom idea. The marble along with the deep, rich blue of the vanity is offset by the hip copper hardware and texture of the wainscoting. Totally elegant!

MidCentury Cool

While you could accomplish the same effect with tile, the herringbone wood floor of this bathroom is remarkable. I also enjoy the simplicity of the small space that hasn’t been overwhelmed with too much else.

The Day Comes Alive

Finally, this bathroom uses an easy trick to invite you inside. While the vintage tile and tub are nice, it’s the lush plants that make this small bathroom a tropical hideaway that’s worthy of any Southwest Florida home.

But let’s hear from you: what are your favorite ideas for creating an amazing bathroom look?

Terry Records

Broker/Owner
Records Results Real Estate
Residential Sales and Property Management Service

Terry.Records@gmail.com

239-887-2163