Discover more about our company
Michael Stone, Co-Founder & Realtor
Deanna Stone, Co-Founder & Broker
We are a top-ranked real estate brokerage located in Winter Haven Florida selling properties throughout Polk County.
With 35+ years of combined real estate experience and well over $125 million in successfully closed transactions, we have helped countless clients reach their real estate goals. Our client base includes both buyers and sellers of varying property types in all price ranges. If you are looking to buy or sell, give us a call and we will be happy to help.
Housing Expectations for 2019
The National Association of Realtors publishes some great data every year in regards to housing expectations.
Existing Home Sales:
Median Home Prices:
Potential Speed Bumps
Increasing Inventory Supply
Slowing Home Appreciation
Waning consumer confidence
* MANY REASONS FOR OPTIMISM
All indications are that we have a housing shortage. If you look at population growth and job growth, it is clear that we are not producing enough houses. This is often a local issue, not a national one, so NAR has created a website where local associations and Realtors® can go for information on how to advocate for increased supply in their communities.
7 things you need to know when selling a home
Whether you are selling in a hurry, or selling at your convenience, be aware of the major influences that the market and the terms of your sale can have on the resale value of your property. The terms of your sale and the initial pricing of your listing can effect the amount of money you keep in your pocket.
Determine an accurate fair market value
Take the time to work closely with a reputable buyers agent who can create a thorough Comparative Market Analysis for you. You’ll need to get a good look at comparable properties in your area that have been appraised recently.
Find out what kind of buyer your property will draw
This will have an effect on what kinds of repairs you may elect to do, as well as determine what kind of financing a buyer can utilize when purchasing the home.
Get a pulse on the overall market conditions
Home list to sale ratios, buyer activity levels, and neighorhood competition can all influence the value of your property, as well as how long it may be on the market.
Perform all improvements that have a net positive on your resale value
Regardless of home condition, there are always improvements that can positively influence your re-sale value. Smells are highly important to focus on, as well as cleanliness.
Choose the right agent for your transaction
A passionate, knowledgeable local expert who intimately knows your neighborhood and market is important. Equally important is their communication, organization, and timeliness.
Prepare your home for those buyer showings
The cosmetic appeal of a property highly influences it’s value. To the untrained eye (like your average buyer), cleanliness is a proxy for how well the home was cared for. Be sure to send the right message with a bright & clean experience free of unwanted odors.
Get feedback from every buyer if possible
Your buyer’s agent can typically follow up with agent’s who show your home to their clients. Get feedback on the home condition, showing highlights, and make changes if needed to improve desirability.
“Reality TV” versus real world conditions
You can’t always believe what you see on real estate TV shows. Here is a quick breakdown of the some of the differences between TV shows and the real world.
Quick tips for would be property investors
Buying Takes Time
Don’t rush into a deal just because you are excited. Take your time to locate the best deal.
TV shows tend to gloss over complex topics. Your budget needs to be accurate.
Calculate PITI payments
Property taxes and insurance can add a significant amount to your monthly payment.
Find a Great Agent
You’ll need an absolute professional experienced in your specific market.
Meet your average first time home buyer
What kind of house do they want?
Move in ready homes
43% are looking to buy in a suburban area outside of a city.
Energy efficient and smart technologies
Younger buyers make up a larger and larger market share, and are willing to pay premiums for upgrades they perceive to be good for the environment, or capable of reducing their energy footprint.
Large entertainers style kitchens, bright open floor plans are very popular. New homes are being built with large bedrooms and baths.
Common types of first time home buyers
38% of hispanics are looking to buy their first home in the next 1-2 years.
When to invest in your house
Home ownership is one of the largest obligations you can place on yourself, and with it comes a slew of costs and responsibilities. Even when selling your home, you may want to consider which investments to make in order to get the most out of your transaction.
Consider Investment When:
Property exterior could use visual improvements.
The carpets have stains and/or wear and tear.
The home smells like pets, smoke or garbage.
Kitchens & baths
These rooms need repairs, or improvements.
I have capital to invest in upgrades to the property.
Check to see if these are true:
Property exterior looks great from all angles.
The carpeting appears to be near new or like new.
The house has no strong odors at it’s entrance.
Kitchens & baths
These rooms are attractive, clean and inviting.
The property has equity and will sell quickly.
8 Popular home remodeling trends
When selling a home, it’s important to compare properties in your area to better understand what a competing property may offer buyers in value and convenience. You may want to consider some of the following upgrades to add value and interest to your home once it goes on the market.
Soaking tubs, large showers, and bold flooring choices are in vogue.
Hardwood floors, as well as faux or engineered hardwood floors are common.
Updated appliances in the kitchen do a lot to add perceived value.
Single-bowl deep sinks, copper lighting, and solid surface counter tops.
Textures, natural wood, reclaimed barnwood and other materials can add style.
Improve lighting fixtures and overall light balance throughout the home.
Add plants, keep flower beds weeded & grass cut. Paint that front door.
Accepting the right offer from a buyer
A national survey found that baby boomers are providing financial support to help their children and grandchildren become homeowners.
There is no more crucial time in your home sale than when you are considering multiple offers and exploring their various terms. Not all offers are equal, and the highest priced offer is not necessarily the best overall offer. The right offer to accept is one that incorporates both highest price and the best terms.
All Cash offers
An offer in all cash has the benefit of being able to close more quickly than a financed offer. This is because there is no lender or loan terms for the buyer to work through.
First time home buyer programs
In some states, first time home buyers have additional financing opportunities available to encourage home ownership. These programs typically do not add any additional burden to a seller.
VA Loan programs
VA loans will typically have an escrow period the same length as a conventional loan. Appraisal standards can sometimes be more strict, so if your home has questionable comps or needs repairs this can complicate the sale.
The vast majority of offers you will receive are from buyers taking out a conventional loan. Expect an average 30 day escrow period and an earnest money deposit.
At times, you may be presented with an offer that is contingent on the sale of another residence. While this does not automatically make this an inferior offer, it does often result in a longer than a 30 day escrow period. If a quick sale is a requirement, this can be a than ideal candidate.
Earnest Money Deposit
If your buyer is serious about a purchase, and is confident in their ability to close escrow, they will have no problem with providing a down payment in good faith. This is typically around 1% of the listing price. Should the deal fall through after they have removed contingencies, they forfeit this deposit.
Closing Cost Requests
It is not uncommon for a buyer to request funds back as part of the terms of sale. This can apply to anything from repairs on the home, to help with the loan downpayment. This amount reduces the net proceeds from the sale of the home.
Why you need an experienced listing agent
FSBOs (For Sale By Owner) accounted for 8% of home sales in 2017. The typical FSBO home sold for $190,000 compared to $249,000 for agent-assisted home sales
Remember, the point of selling your property is to sell it for the most you possibly can. This is heavily aided by the marketing reach that a real estate agent can offer, and motivated buyers will typically see an agent has having more credibility when compared to a FSBO (For Sale By Owner).
The more exposure through marketing and onsite visits from participating agents will result in a better chance of receiving multiple offers on your property, which will help add leverage when selecting one that most accurately meets your goals.
The results should be measurable
Real Estate Agent
$249,000 Avg. Price
For Sale By Owner
$190,000 Avg. Price
Increase your visibility to buyers
Buyers increasingly are utilizing real estate agents and starting their searches for property online. A listing represented on the MLS in your area will increase the effectiveness of marketing efforts.
- Internet 51% 51%
- Real Estate Agent 30% 30%
- Yard Sign / Open House Sign 7% 7%
- Friend, Relative or Neighbor 6% 6%
- Home builder or their agent 5% 5%
- Knew the sellers 3% 3%
- Print newspaper ad 1% 1%
Explaining your closing costs
Your total net proceeds are reduced by a number of costs that are typically associated with a property sale. It’s important to know the basics about these. It is recommended that you sit down with a real estate agent who can walk you through a net proceeds estimate to determine your equity at close of escrow.
Tile Insurance & Transfer Fees
Expect to pay an average of 2% for transfer taxes, title insurance, notary fees and other miscellaneous costs associated with transferring the title.
As the seller you will pay for the listing agent and buyer agent commissions. This is typically a split of 6% with half going to each agent.
Any outstanding mortgage balance you may still carry on the property will need to be satisfied at closing.
Your tax responsibility will be prorated to the date of sale, and any outstanding balance will be need to be paid in order to transfer the title and record the sale.
Buyers typically pay for the inspections they want to have done on the house which includes a home inspection, termite inspection, septic inspection, well inspection and so on.
Regardless of the type of offer you have accepted, you may still be asked by the buyer for home repairs as part of the sale once the results of the inspections are known. Some repairs are required by lenders prior to funding.
Typically prorated, any outstanding balance up to the date of sale will need to be satisfied prior to close of escrow.
After the closing
Despite closing escrow marking the end of the property sale process, it also marks the beginning of an ongoing relationship. Keeping in touch with the agent allows you to continue to use this value able resource of information whenever you need.
An ongoing relationship with my clients
A fantastic agent focuses on a continuing relationship that offers you convenience, opportunity and value. You can always rely on your agent after the closing to help you answer questions about home ownership, provide resources, offer advice, and provide tools to ensure your home ownership experience is a positive one.
Your referrals are key!
Maintaining an ongoing client relationship is just part of an overall commitment to provide a level of service well above and beyond expectations. Your agent relies on word of mouth referrals for additional business, and good referrals allow the agent to devote more time to helping clients and less time to finding them. If your experience is amazing, be sure to tell your friends!
Ask a question
I greatly enjoy working with sellers and helping them purchase their dream homes. If you’re looking to conduct your home search soon and find a new residence, please get in touch with me via email or phone today.