Understanding Extreme Weather in Florida

Understanding Extreme Weather in Florida

Earlier in the month, we talked about simple steps you can take to prep for Florida’s hurricane season. With the storm season beginning, there’s plenty of talk about weather already. This is especially true since we saw the first named storm of the season just last week. And while that storm system turned out to be relatively mild, few residents have forgotten last year’s scare from Irma.

Of course, if you’re thinking about buying a property in Southwest Florida, you might have a few concerns on this topic. After all, knowing how to prep for a storm is one thing… understanding Florida’s extreme weather is another. So, today, I wanted to bring a little perspective to the conversation as your source for everything SWFL!

What are the chances of a direct hit?

This is probably one of the biggest questions I get when it comes to Florida weather. After all, if you check the news, you might have a difficult time assessing just how often any one area gets a direct hit. And obviously, those are the events to be more concerned about. Yet, the chances are fairly low, especially once you factor out areas with higher chances in the state. Still, I caution being prepared, but without panic.

What about flood and hurricane insurance?

You might also be surprised to find out that like many areas of the country, Florida has differing flood and storm zones. Now, for Southwest Florida properties, I always recommend getting flood and hurricane insurance, even if it’s optional. However, for each property, you can research how an extreme weather event might affect it.

What can be done to protect my SWFL property?

Since Hurricane Andrew many years ago, the construction industry throughout Florida has changed their approach. Today, you can find homes, even older homes, fitted with storm-proof items that protect the roof, windows, and more. In fact, it’s becoming more and more common to see homes upgrading their windows to impact-resistant ones. There are numerous steps you can take to better safeguard your property.

Do Floridians really wait until the last second to prepare?

Yes! In many cases, you’ll see property owners scramble at the very last possible second to protect what might be their biggest financial asset. But at the same time, a good chunk of residents start planning right as storm season rolls in. And of course, this is what I strongly recommend doing.

How does the community come together in the event of an extreme weather event?

This is a great question! Along with the construction industry, our community and emergency services have also upgraded in recent years. What this means is that after storms like Irma, thousands of electrical workers came from as far away as Montana and Wisconsin to restore power in areas that were affected. Road crews were out so quickly to clear trees that were blocking the highway… in many cases, returning residents never even saw them. It was truly remarkable. And locally, communities come together to help each other and lift each other up in our state, which is something amazing to see.

Are you considering a property in Southwest Florida, but have questions about hurricane insurance or other weather-related factors? I’d be happy to answer them for you!

Terry Records

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

Terry.Records@gmail.com

239-887-2163

 

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What’s Your Assessment, Are We in a Real Estate Bubble?

Whats Your Assessment Are We in a Real Estate Bubble

From California to New York City and Southwest Florida to Seattle, there’s a question that’s been popping up more frequently. You can find this question being asked in the financial news as well as in the real estate community. It’s even being asked on popular sites like Reddit!

And with many areas enjoying strong increases in property values, it’s only natural for people to wonder about real estate markets. This is also true of the country’s financial health as well. Of course, as a seasoned investor, this topic is one I follow very closely. So, today, we’re going to dive into understanding this complex question in a simple way.

Leveraging, Debt, and Risk

Because this topic is on the minds of a number of people, you can find very smart people talking about it in depth. And recently, the 2018 Realtors Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo had a panel on just this question. One of the key points they hit on was the degree of over-leveraging that had taken place in previous downturns versus now. The conclusion? We have yet to see the type of risk-taking and over-extension of debt that we’ve seen in previous bubbles.

Inventory, Inventory, Inventory

Another critical part of the conversation revolves around inventory levels. You may have heard how many regions are experiencing a lack of inventory. At its heart, this means that an increase in inventory will help alleviate upward pressures on pricing. So, we’re paying close attention to the inventory numbers for several major metro areas, including our own here in Southwest Florida.

Construction Jobs as an Indicator

And speaking of expanding inventory, new construction is one of the aspects we look at for this area of the market. With that in mind, you can imagine how the number of construction jobs and factors around them are important. It was noted at the expo mentioned above that with the pop of the previous real estate bubble, construction companies let many people go.

Now, as the market is showing healthy signs, the new construction industry is working hard to train talent, essentially playing “catch-up.” As this sector of the industry continues to mature that talent, we should see more new construction coming online to ease demand and curb rising prices.

Peering into the Future

While there’s a great deal of interconnectivity between markets, the fact is that every metro has a cycle all of its own. This is why we look at key regions and markets, as well as the overall economic activity to determine what makes the most sense for our clients. Considering what we’ve gone over above, it’s likely we are not in a bubble currently. As new construction meets inventory demands, prices should naturally relax in a healthy, normal way, mitigating fears of a bubble.

But as an investor, I love to hear from others. What are you seeing currently in your market? Please share in the comments!

Terry Records

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

Terry.Records@gmail.com

239-887-2163

 

Finding Property Potential Across the Country: 2 More Houzz Rehabs

Finding Property Potential Across the Country 2 More Houzz Rehabs

Recently, you’ve been part of our journey exploring the potential of properties across the country. With sites like Houzz and others, it’s never been easier to see rehab projects that are really impressive. And as a real estate agent and investor of many years, I love to browse the possibilities online. There’s some amazing homes out there!

So, with that in mind, we’re going to take a look at 2 more rehabs today. Each one unlocks the potential of these properties in an attractive way that’s sure to catch your eye. These properties are perfect for getting ideas for your current property or even your next dream home!

A Classic Property Updated and Refreshed

If you’re not familiar with the American Foursquare style, it’s defined by more square, generous porches, and 4 large rooms per floor. Popular in the early 1900s, it’s a historic look that doesn’t get enough attention. And for this rehab, the designers have elevated this Boston home to something magical. But don’t take my word for it, just check out the photos at the link above!

The difference between the before and after shots is very telling. What was once a home with a drab feel to it has been completely changed. By lightening many of the elements in the home, most notably the paint outside, the heaviness has been lifted and everything feels fresh. With a few farmhouse touches throughout, this property has merged classic and contemporary in a wonderful way.

By shifting away from the dark blue outside, the owners were also able to add those subtle touches that I love. One such example is the light blue door that frames the entryway. But the lighting above the dining room is the real magic touch for this one that won a Best of Boston Home award!

A True Beverly Hills Makeover

For our next rehab before and after, look no further than Beverly Hills. Real Estate here is fairly well-known throughout the country, at least in part. And with this rehab, we can see another example of how drab and old, even in a place like Beverly Hills, transforms into amazing.

One of the factors that I enjoy about this makeover is how the designer differentiated the rooms in a complementary way. Doing this isn’t always easy, but when you look at the photos, you can tell a lot of thought must have gone into the look. There’s a warm balance throughout the home, but in a way that gives each room its own experience. In some cases, you can see how a mere change of color on the walls can make all the difference for characterizing a room. Love it!

As an experienced real estate agent, I’ve rehabbed countless properties, including an award-winning Frank Lloyd Wright home. Have a question or two about your rehab? I’d be happy to chat!

Terry Records

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

Terry.Records@gmail.com

239-887-2163

 

6 Misconceptions about Owning a Home in Southwest Florida

6 Misconceptions about Owning a Home in Southwest Florida

If you’ve considered owning a home in Southwest Florida, or just about anywhere in Florida for that matter, you’ve probably heard a few “facts” about the area. But just like any part of the country, there’s a more rich and interesting story right below the surface. Truthfully, once you’ve lived here, you start to appreciate just how amazing it can be. From fascinating histories to new beginnings for the future, SWFL is multi-faceted. And today, we’re going to expel some of those myths that you might have heard!

Myth: Southwest Florida real estate is all condos

When you think of homes in Southwest Florida, you might imagine condos as far as the eye can see. And we do, in fact, have plenty of attractive condos if that’s what you’re in the market for. However, SWFL and Florida, in general, both have countless other options, from single-family homes to luxury properties.

Myth: We all live on waterfront property

While Cape Coral has unprecedented access to the water, you don’t have to be right on the water if you don’t want to. In fact, in Southwest Florida, you have the choice. Want to live on a more spacious rural property away from it all? You can do that. What about 15 minutes from the beach, but right in the center of one of our hip downtowns? You can do that too!

Myth: Florida isn’t good for new families

From single college graduates to new families, Florida is incredibly diverse. What this means is that there’s something for you no matter what your lifestyle is. And with growing amenities, including world-class outdoors, new families are more than welcome and the kids are sure to have lots to do!

Myth: It’s always hot

Yes, the summers are warm. But owning a home in Southwest Florida also means no shoveling snow… or dealing with months of endless rainy days. And in reality, our state has very pleasant winters and springs, so much so that snowbirds flock to our shores throughout these times of the year.

Myth: There aren’t many amenities

With a budding food scene, tons of craft breweries popping up, art, entertainment, and outdoors… well, you can see how Florida isn’t just beaches anymore. In the past 5 years, many cities up and down our coast have become hubs for culture and good times.

Myth: Real estate can be expensive

Now, this myth couldn’t be further from the truth. When you want to own a home in Southwest Florida, you have many affordable options. You might even be surprised to discover that our luxury real estate is more affordable compared to other parts of the country!

Are you considering a property in SWFL? I’m your source for the area, and I’m always happy to answer questions!

Terry Records

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

Terry.Records@gmail.com

239-887-2163

 

More Cost-effective Security for Your Home

More Cost effective Security for Your Home

Recently, we saw how home security doesn’t have to be an expensive ordeal. In fact, there are numerous cost-effective solutions that can give you peace of mind. And this is true no matter what part of the country you live in.

While Southwest Florida remains a relatively safe and affordable place to live (with tons of amenities too), you can never be too careful. So, I like to recommend these items that can bring that added security to any home. And this week, we have even more choices that won’t break the bank!

Window alarms

This item is incredibly low cost and can cover an access point that many people forget about. By placing a small device on the windows, you now have the ability to be alerted if it’s broken on the other end of the house.

Doorbell camera

This one has been gaining in popularity in recent years. With a doorbell camera, you can see and sometimes even interact with, the person on the other outside before you choose to open the door.

Door peephole

If a doorbell camera isn’t your thing, at the very least, grab a door peephole if you don’t already have one. Not everyone is aware that you can install one yourself fairly easily, and they’re very cost-effective!

Upgraded locks

Speaking of doors, I also like to recommend upgrading your deadbolt. You might already have one installed, but not all deadbolts are the same. By spending a few more dollars, you can get one that’s a bit better… which brings us to our next item…

Deadbolt re-enforcement

On the subject of deadbolts, security experts will tell you… a door with a deadbolt is still trivially easy to kick in. By adding thicker screws and a better plate, both of which are cheap, you can make it somewhat more difficult to kick in on the first kick. You definitely don’t want to go overboard, but a minor upgrade is a good idea.

Motion sensor lights

I also like to add motion activated lights around my own property. These are decently priced and can light up your entire backyard in some cases. While an occasionally windy night might trip them, you still have peace of mind for many nights out of the year.

Garage door alarm

We saw in our last article on home security how a garage door lock is a great idea. But you can also add an alarm too! This way, if the door is somehow opened at night or while you’re away, you and your neighbors will be alerted.

A secure, fire safe

You might not think of this item as a home security item at first, but in reality, it is one. Although a small safe isn’t going to stop someone from carrying it off, keeping your documents secure during a fire is one aspect of home security many people forget about.

As a Realtor, I don’t limit myself to just knowing about home prices and mortgages. In fact, I want to be your resource for everything related to real estate. Have a question? I’d be happy to help!

Terry Records

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

Terry.Records@gmail.com

239-887-2163

Choosing a Moving Company for Your Next Move

Choosing a Moving Company for Your Next Move

In real estate, we spend plenty of time talking about interest rates and pricing trends, mortgages and property values. Of course, you also know that in my articles, we also look at other factors like decorating, rehabbing and remodeling, and more. Let’s also not forget that we talk about those extraordinary Southwest Florida amenities!

At the same time, there’s something that’s talked about less frequently, but that’s monumentally important whether you’re buying or selling. And that’s the moving process. So, today, we’re going to talk a bit about choosing a moving company. While you can always opt to rent a moving truck and move on your own, countless people still choose to hire movers, and there’s a number of tips to keep in mind if you’re thinking of hiring a moving company yourself.

Read the reviews and talk to friends

The very first place you should start your process for hiring a moving company is testimonials. By making this step your first one, you’re not wasting any time. In fact, you’re getting right to the moving companies that have a reputation they’ve likely earned.

Check if they’re registered

After you’ve narrowed down your list to a handful of companies, I suggest your next check should be to see if they’re registered. There are a few spots you can check up on, such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for state-to-state companies. But I also like to see if they’re listed with the American Moving and Storage Association

Or, you can look at any other local associations for moving companies.

Schedule a walkthrough and compare multiple quotes

Too often, in a time-crunch, you might be tempted to go with the first company that looks good. As a real estate agent, however, I’ve seen time and time again how this can cause big problems, from plumbers to lawn care. If possible, I recommend budgeting yourself a bit more time, especially for a moving company that will be handling your possessions. Have them do a walkthrough and then compare their prices. Any reputable company should be more than willing to do this. Also check what kind of estimate they’re providing, whether non-binding or binding.

Check out their insurance policies

Without getting into the nitty-gritty of insurance policies, I suggest looking into this topic for each company. You are choosing a company that’s insured, right? Next, you want to know if you’re talking about full protection or a differing level of value for replacing any items.

Read the fine print and know your contract

Another area that we’ll only touch on right now is your moving contract. Even though it can be a chore to wade through legal-focused documents, you want to understand what the details are for your moving company. Please don’t simply sign a piece of paper with minimal details. Your moving contract should include items like your estimate, delivery dates, any extra fees, and an inventory list.

Ask if they write up an inventory of your items

On that note, one of the most important factors I also recommend is getting an inventory list. After all, what happens if your possessions arrive at your dream home, but something’s missing? Having everything in writing is a safeguard for your own peace of mind during a busy and exciting, yet stressful time.

For Southwest Florida, we have many people move from another area of the country. If that’s you and you need a few more moving tips, feel free to email me!

Terry Records

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

Terry.Records@gmail.com

239-887-2163

 

5 Affordable Pieces to Enhance Your Kitchen without Remodeling

Affordable Pieces to Enhance Your Kitchen without Remodeling

Whether you’re staging a home to sell or you’ve bought your dream home, you probably know how important kitchens are. And it makes perfect sense. After all, in homes across America, from Southwest Florida to Seattle, Washington, people spend a great deal of time in their kitchens. From cooking meals to entertaining guests, this room in your home likely gets a lot of traffic and attention.

And after decades as a Realtor and real estate investor, I’ve learned that a few well-chosen pieces can make all the difference for this room. But you don’t have to necessarily remodel your entire dining and cooking space to enhance it. In fact, I’ve found that there are plenty of pieces you can add to the room in an impressive way!

A Simple, but Colorful Impression

Let’s start somewhere so easy and affordable, just about anyone can manage it. And that’s with a multi-level fruit basket. By opting for one that can stand on your counter, you’re adding an enormous pop of color that brings a natural sense to your kitchen. Simple, affordable, and eye-catching.

Sleek and Modern Affordability

Speaking of affordable, another way to add color and enhance your space is by swapping out your seating. Whether you have an eat-in bar or an attached dining area, these Ikea chairs can add a lot to your space. Because they’re elegant and trendy, they add a degree of sophistication without being over the top.

Stepping Up Your Coffee Game

There’s a reason that people love to go to places like Starbucks; they’re inviting and friendly. And if you’re looking to spend a bit more money, this espresso machine in a bold red might be just your thing. It also doesn’t hurt that it makes a great cup, and you’ll be able to serve guests an upgraded coffee drink.

It’s All in the Details

I always love to say that the details matter. And for this list of kitchen pieces, you can see how these details can completely change your experience when it comes to your kitchen. This is especially true when you highlight unique items that you love in this space. For this mug rack, you have the option to add a custom touch with special mugs you’ve collected.

Refreshingly Fun

Of course, with the Southwest Florida heat, there’s always a cold, refreshing drink close at hand. And with the popularity of craft cocktails right now, why not dress up your kitchen with a bar cart? They also make for an attractive decorative element, and it doesn’t get any more affordable than this piece for under $30.

You can see how enhancing your kitchen, if it’s in fair condition, doesn’t have to involve a complete remodel. But I’d love to hear your ideas when it comes to making the most of this space in your home!

Terry Records

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

Terry.Records@gmail.com

239-887-2163