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Impact of Interest Rates on Home Mortgages

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

Today, house prices are lower than in years and interest rates are at historic lows.  This combination of factors allows buyers to be able to afford houses that not long ago were financially out of reach.  However, interest rates will rise, sooner or later.  Experts are predicting interest rates will rise to as high as 5.5% within a year.  Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the rate on the 30-year loan increased to 4.47% from 4.42% last week. The average on the 15-year fixed loan rose to 3.51% from 3.43%.

You may calculate your own mortgage payments here if you like.

For example, a buyer today qualifies for a home that costs $200,000.  If the interest rates go up by 0.25%, that same buyer now qualifies for a house that costs $195,000, thus putting the $200,000 house out of range.  If the interest rates go up 0.5%, the same buyer now qualifies for a house that costs $190,000, putting the $195,000 house out of range.  If the interest rates go up a full 1.0%, that same buyer now qualifies for a house that costs $180,000.  The $200,000 house is now very far out of reach for the buyer whose qualifications stayed the same, the only change was the increased interest rates for a mortgage.  

The mortgage payments would stay just about the same, however the purchasing power decreases by 10% for every 1% increase in interest rates.

Thus, as interest rates go up, and the mortgage payment remains stable, the value of the home one can purchase goes down.  If a buyer chooses to wait until a better house comes along, they may not be able to qualify for a loan for it.

Dunedin Goes Green

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

Dunedin goes green. No one who lives in Dunedin would be surprised at that headline. What may be a surprise to the residents, and winter residents of this community on Florida's west coast, is that it is the first local government in the state of Florida to earn the designation as Certified Green Local Government at the Platinum level, awarded by the Florida Green Building Coalition.  There will be a formal presentation to city officials on Dec. 19.

Welcome to Dunedin

The city is very active in promoting the environment so that its citizens, and visitors can enjoy the most pleasant experience possible.  The city parks are well used and very clean.  And the city is a pet friendly community that encourages people to walk their dogs in the parks.  Doggy bag stations are readily available throughout the city.  If it sounds like a great place to live, visit Dunedin real estate for sale.

The environmental awareness of quality of life, coupled with the numerous events held throughout the year, including: Cinco de Mayo, Mardi Gras parade, Wines the Blues Festival, Old Fashioned Christmas on Main Street, juried Arts and Crafts Festivals, and much more, are among the many reasons that people want to buy Dunedin real estate and live here year 'round, or at least for the winters.  The Florida winters can be a little chilly, even hitting a frost warning on rare occasions, however, in Dunedin we simply don't have to deal with a foot or two of snow.  You can simply plant your two feet in the sand on the beach.

When you do visit the beaches, keep in mind that this community is active in recycling, community planning, water and energy use, waste management and so much more.  To learn more about the prestigious Platinum Certified Green Local Government award, visit Dunedin goes green to learn why people like to buy Dunedin real estate and live in this wonderful community.

Why Sell a Home During the Holidays??

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

How often has a seller said "I'm going to sell my house right after the holidays are over."?  Yes, selling a house is a challenge under the best of circumstances.  The holidays add a little stress, and require some balancing of time.  At the same time, a house that is decorated for the holidays "feels" warm to most buyers.  Many, if not most, buyers who are looking during the holidays are very serious and tend to want to buy a home, and not wait for after the holidays.

Also, for sellers, the market is less competitive during the holiday season.  Many potential sellers use the same excuse to wait for after the first of the year to put their houses on the market.  And what that will cause is more competition after the holidays for buyers.  More competition can cause depressed prices, so sellers who wait will net less money after the holidays than if they had sold during the holidays.

The decorations will be gone, and in some cases, houses will not show as warmly as they did when decorated.  Some buyers suffer from post-holiday blues and may be much more critical of a house than during the holidays.

And finally, wouldn't the holidays be much more relaxed knowing that your house has been sold and right after the holidays you will begin a new adventure in a new home, with all the excitement that comes with a fresh beginning?

Take a look at homes that are for sale in the Palm Harbor area now, during the holidays. 

Tips for Selling Your Home

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

One of the most difficult issues home owners have to deal with when selling their home is the best way to prepare the house for sale.  Do they really need to paint the outside of the house, or paint all the rooms inside, or replace the carpets, or upgrade the kitchen and bathroom, or landscape the yard, and on and on.

All these are fair questions.  Your professional Realtor should be able to guide you along in the decision making process.  Since each situation is different, here are some simple basics that may be helpful.

If you do decide to paint the outside of the house, pick a neutral color, or one that pretty much fits in with the neighborhood.  In most cases, painting a house bright pink or purple is not helpful.  In fact, there are Realtors who feel that painting a house pink can cost the seller thousands of dollars at the sale.  Pressure washing is a far less expensive alternative to painting, especially if the exterior of the house is in pretty good condition.

Painting the inside of the house can be helpful, however, again, use neutral colors, or at least not wild colors.  Red or black rooms will not show well and can cost a sale opportunity.  Most buyers expect to paint the interior when they buy the house anyway.

Replacing carpeting is another typical question.  Look at the carpets and see just how bad they are.  Can a good carpet cleaner help make the appearance acceptable?  Are there bad odors (doggy smell) that would be eliminated with a good cleaning?  Remember, replacing a carpet is an investment that is not likely to be returned to the seller.

On to the kitchen or bathroom.  In general, don't remodel these rooms just to sell the house.  If the kitchen has been updated since you bought the house, that's fine.  If it is in need of being updated because the appliances are 25 years old, be prepared to take a little off the price but also know that if you do update the kitchen, a buyer will expect that as part of normal maintenance and won't usually pay a premium for an updated kitchen, or bathroom.

The best things to do to prepare your house for sale are to eliminate the clutter, take down as many pictures from the walls as you feel comfortable with, especially family portraits, because they can distract a buyer from looking at the house itself. Do a general cleaning, keep each room neat and tidy, don't leave dishes in the sink, make the beds everyday, and do not smoke in the house.  The majority of buyers are non-smokers and residual smoke odors will have a very negative impact on buyers.

Then look outside at the yard.  Keep the grass cut, weed the flower beds, if there is a fence with broken slats, fix it.  Do what you can to make the house look attractive from the curbside so the initial impression is a good one.  

Make sure that all the lights work.  Lighting is a very important tool when showing your house.  And keep the air conditioning or the heat on so the house is comfortable when buyers walk through.  A house that is dark and hot, or cold, when a buyer tours it will create a negative impression and cost money at the sale.

The best things to do are not the most expensive.  Keep it neat, clean and ready to show everyday.  A little paint, cleaning the house and the flooring, and generally neat housekeeping will go a long way to make the house show as nicely as possible.

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4

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Photo of Gwen and  Doug Campbell - Sun Bay Realty Group Real Estate
Gwen and Doug Campbell - Sun Bay Realty Group
at Keller Williams Realty
30522 US Hwy 19N, Suite 107
Palm Harbor FL 34684
Doug's Cell 727-741-4189
Gwen's Cell 727-741-7260
Fax: 888-447-7908