Techniques to Assist Homebuyers

http://realestate.aol.com/blog/home-buying-answers/

The video in the link above, from AOL Real Estate, provides some really useful information that anyone buying, or looking to buy, a home should really take a look at. It provides some helpful tips that give buyers some assistance in negotiating a deal.

Keep in mind, however, that some of these techniques are little difficult for the average buyer to execute properly on their own. Which is why the video, and us as well, recommend contacting a licensed Realtor in order to assist you in handling the paperwork and legal wrangling that goes into some of these techniques. Of course, we here at The Bonnie Barbieri Team at Re/Max Marketing Specialists in Spring Hill, Florida, can assist you with anything of this sort if you are looking to buy in the northern end of the Tampa Bay area, Hernando and Pasco Counties specifically.

We have served the area since 2006, and have received multiple awards and accolades for our efforts. We are among the most widely recognized names in local real estate. We are one of the only teams in the area to be featured in Top Agent Magazine.

The current real estate market provides great opportunities for homebuyers to get their dream home for a great price. If you have been on the fence about buying, you owe it to yourself to see what is available. It might really surprise you.

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When Smaller Is Better

 

 

Map of Florida highlighting Hernando County

Map of Florida highlighting Hernando County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

A recent Associated Press article extols the virtues of smaller buildings and historic districts as being a boon for local economies. The article cites a study that shows that regions like these lead to more jobs in the local economy, as they are usually small businesses that hire local residents. While a huge office building that spans a block may employ a hundred people, many of them are likely to commute into the area. Small businesses tend to hire more people in the same space, people who live in the area, which keeps the money in the local economy.

 

These businesses are usually run by a more diverse group of individuals, which creates a broader range of opportunities.  Such businesses usually also attract a diverse group of customers. Having  a wider range of shops would obviously attract a wider audience. This keeps up more activity in the local economy than an office building, which tends to pull their employees from a smaller demographic range and typically does less to promote activity in the local economy.

 

Here in the northern end of the Tampa Bay area, we have several of these types of commercial districts. Hernando County has small patches like this is Spring Hill and Brooksville. Down in Pasco County, New Port Richey mas a robust historical business district built around Main St. These areas are great hubs of local business, featuring many things to do and many different shopping options. Several of these areas are great for taking a walk around and seeing what the local business community has to offer. Take a look for yourself if you are in the area.

 

For more information about the northern Tampa Bay area, or to see what homes are available in the region, contact Spring Hill Re/Max agent, Bonnie Barbieri, at 352-263-3599 or email SOLD@bonniebarbieri.com We are happy to assist you in any way we can

 

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Create Something Wonderful at the Hernando County Library

This video highlights the services available at the Hernando County Public Library’s Creation Station. The creation suite has all sorts of tools for aspiring filmmakers and other creative types like musicians to use to hone their craft. This is a great tool for those who want to get into media production on a small scale but do not have the resources to get the ball rolling themselves.

There is a high-end computer with a digital drawing pad for artists, a midi keyboard for music, and a green screen for video. In today’s technological landscape, couple those with the right software, and you can work wonders.

To get more information about the Hernando County Public Library and their services, go to http://www.hcpl.lib.fl.us/

 

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Leave the City, Save Money

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Traditional wisdom states that the advantages to living in a larger metropolitan area outweigh  the larger expense that comes with the city life. However, according to an article in Business Week, those advantages may not be worth the cost for many families anymore. Most of the major metropolitan areas in the U.S. are becoming unaffordable for most middle-class families. Those final words are the key distinction. Middle-class families cannot afford to live in these cities. This means that these cities come with too cumbersome a price tag for anyone but the upper classes.

This is why we recommend the benefits of suburban life. Moving out of the cities and into the suburbs has plenty of advantages that the cities do not have. For example, because housing costs are lower, you can get more home for the money. Suburban homes usually come with larger yards, giving your family more space outside. The towns have less traffic, making everyday errands much easier to handle.

There are really only two main disadvantages to suburban homes. Many people have to commute to the cities to work, which means longer drives and more gas. Smaller towns usually also mean less attractions and nightlife. Some people may be disappointed with that lack of things to do. However, some people might not mind that too much.

Overall, with the skyrocketing costs of city life, the advantages of the suburban lifestyle are plenty. Towns like right here in Spring Hill, Florida are becoming more attractive to families who are being priced out of the cities. We are close to the Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater area, but not too close. This means that we avoid the crowding and congestion that comes with the city, but still have easy access to those attractions in the city when necessary.

For more information about homes available in Spring Hill, Florida, call Realtor Bonnie Barbieri today at: 352-263-3599 or email SOLD@bonniebarbieri.com.

Photo by Doug Brown 37

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The Case for Treating Internet as a Utility Like Chattanooga by Fred Moutran

internet photo

(The following article contains opinions that are solely those of the author and may not reflect any other entity)

In light of the recent debate over Net Neutrality raging in the halls of the FCC, one of the things that gets lost in that conversation is why the U.S. has not upgraded its Internet infrastructure to accommodate more powerful broadband connections. However,  after reading an article in the New York Times, it would seem we have the model the rest of the country ought to be following.

Chattanooga, Tennessee has a city-owned Internet provider that offers 1 Gigabit per second Internet service for less than $70 per month. By comparison, here in Hernando County, Florida, service less than one-tenth the speed costs around the same price. The article states that downloading a two hour, HD movie can be done in 33 seconds on the Chattanooga service while locally, that same download can take two hours or longer.

Having this kind of hyper-fast broadband service, a service tied for fastest in the world with Hong Kong, can do great things for business and innovation in the local economy. The service attracts entrepreneurs and established businesses who see the advantages such high-speed broadband can offer. Having this type of boon can be huge for any economy.

The New York Times article states that many people do not sign up for high speed Internet service even when it is available. One thing the article fails to mention is that price is a major motivator to keep people away from broadband. Most people do not have the luxury of a taxpayer-funded alternative and have to resort to coping with whatever overpriced service the major ISPs offer in their area. Here in Spring Hill, the cable company is the only provider offering any kind of truly high-speed service. Even there, it is less than a tenth of  the speed of what is offered in Chattanooga.

This lack of true broadband results in fewer jobs that rely on technology and many people stuck in high-priced ISP deals because they are the only game in town. Less jobs and less money in residents pockets, all because of the same companies that are now lobbying in favor of providing fast-lanes to companies ready to pay. Chattanooga provides an example of what happens when Internet is treated as a utility. The people win, and the big ISPs are still making their money in a competitive market. The FCC and municipalities across the country should follow the example set by Chattanooga, Tennessee.

For more articles like this, check back at http://bonniebarbieriteam.com

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Sinkhole Damage? 5 Steps to Take Now

sinkhole swallows home photo

We have written before about what to look for to detect sinkhole activity if you suspect your home may be affected. There are many telltale signs of sinkhole activity and we covered many of them in the article we linked to at the beginning  of this one. However, many people may not be fully aware of the steps to take after they discover signs of sinkhole damage. Here are some steps to take in the event your hole may be damaged by sinkhole activity.

1. Research public adjusters. Unless you are willing to deal with lots of paperwork and phone calls fighting with your property insurance provider, you will need a public adjuster to handle the details. Settling a sinkhole claim can be a daunting process which can take a long time to resolve. The process can be a time-consuming mess as insurance companies frequently  want to force homeowners to repair on their terms. This can be bad for homeowners as they will frequently try to do the work cheaply, which can lead to shoddy repairs.

2. Call a public adjuster. Before dealing with your home insurance provider, it helps to have someone on your side who will fight for your interests. The insurance companies are notorious for delaying repairs or providing inadequate damage estimates. A public adjuster will negotiate the process with the insurance properties, keeping you from having to burden yourself with all of the paperwork and minutia. This will make things much easier for you, and you will have a professional working hard to get your home repaired properly.

3. Start researching lawyers. Once you have found a public adjuster and signed on with them, it is prudent to start thinking long term. You will hopefully not need  to hire a lawyer as, hopefully, the public adjuster can handle everything and resolve your claim themselves. However, if they hit an impasse, which with certain insurers is more likely than with others, you may need to seek legal representation to get the insurance company to hold up their end of the policy agreement.

4. Wait for the inspections and appraisals to be conducted. Once the public adjuster is at work on the claim, they will get preparations in place to have your home inspected. This is standard procedure. You will want to be available when the inspectors come through to make sure they see everything you have seen in regards to the damage. This does not mean you should micromanage them. Stay out of the way unless necessary. Once the assessments are complete, you will have a repair estimate and can decide how to proceed.

5. Make a decision.  Here is where things get tricky. Once you have the initial repair estimate, it is up to you to decide whether to accept it or get a second opinion through a neutral evaluator. Your public adjuster will advise you here, so you can typically trust them to make the right call. Neutral evaluation comes into play if you suspect the original estimate is inadequate to properly repair all of the sinkhole damage. If you go for neutral evaluation to attempt to get a higher estimate, Be aware that it might not get the result you want, or the insurance company might ignore it altogether. If the latter happens and you truly believe that the first estimate was unacceptable, then it is time to decide if you should hire a lawyer. If the insurance company will not make the repairs properly, taking them to court may be necessary to get them to comply with their policy agreement.

Those are the basic steps to take when you suspect there may be sinkhole damage to your home. It is a simplified, streamlined example, but it gives you the framework to get started and an insight into the process. If you found this helpful, check back with Spring Hill, Florida Realtor Bonnie Barbieri and subscribe to our site’s news feed to get more helpful information such as this.

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Know Finance, Know Savings.

saving photo

Recently, we posted an article about ensuring that homebuyers and sellers alike are informed about the process and the consequences, good or bad, of their real estate transaction. This becomes an especially important issue when we see stories like this one from theweek.com. It shows how woefully lacking many people’s knowledge of basic finance can be. Buying or selling real estate is likely to be one of the largest financial transactions most people will ever make. With the amount of money at stake in such a large transaction, it is vital to ensure that you know what you are getting into, or at least that you are working with someone who does. Having a professional who is looking out for your interests can be essential when you have that much money in play. It can be even more essential to heed that advice.

Many sellers, for example, overprice their homes against advice from their real estate agent. Homes then sit on the market, losing valuable time. The longer a home sits on the market, the harder it becomes to sell. Then price cuts become necessary and sellers end up losing more money than they could have gained from the higher price. Many sellers hurt their own cause by not keeping informed.

For buyers, knowing the ins and outs of the basic terms of a mortgage is of the utmost importance. Signing for such a large loan without knowing exactly how the payments work and interest is accrued and things of that nature can lead to financial disaster. One needs look no further than the problems caused for many by balloon payments on adjustable rate mortgages to see how much damage can be done when someone goes into a transaction uninformed.

It is important for anyone, not just those looking to buy or sell a home, to understand at least the basic concepts of finance and money management. It can save a person a great deal of money over the course of a lifetime when they can manage their money effectively. Being informed helps keep you from being taken advantage of and helps you make wise use of the funds you already have.

We have posted a number of helpful articles that could help you get started. Check out Spring Hill, Florida Realtor Bonnie Barbieri for more information.

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What Declines in Cash Buyers Means for You

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A recent article by Market Watch states that forty-three percent of American homebuyers in the first quarter of the current fiscal year purchased those homes in all-cash deals. That is a huge percentage of homebuyers forgoing mortgages in favor of paying for their homes up-front. The interesting note for many people reading that story is that this is continuing even after investors are leaving the market due to rising home prices. However, that is not the part of the story that people looking to buy homes ought to be interested in.

The real source of intrigue here is what will happen once the currently large number of cash deals starts  to decline. Recently, the real estate market across the country has had an increasingly difficult time convincing people to take on mortgages. There are numerous reasons for this. New lending rules make them hard to get. Millennials are skeptical about taking on that sort of financial burden. These are just a few examples. The point here is that if these challenges continue while there is a decline in cash buyers coinciding with it, the decreasing demand will inevitably drive prices back down. This may get some people off the fence and looking to buy while they can still afford it.

The obvious downside to this is that deflated home prices may lead to a drop in available homes as sellers will be hesitant to sell their homes until prices once again improve. That may not last long term though, as falling prices might just bring the investors back, leading to an odd cycle of price fluctuation. This would be an advantage for those looking to buy as it would keep homes affordable, but sellers would lose a great deal of value if that cyclical trend came to be.

If you found this article helpful, subscribe to our newsfeed from our homepage at http://bonniebarbieriteam.com. We keep you up to date with the latest real estate trends and developments.

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Rents Are Too Darn High!

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One in three Americans are paying way too much in rent.  According to a recent article by CNN Money, a third of the American population pays more than the recommended 30% of their monthly median income on rent. In some of the more expensive places to live in the country, rents can eat up anywhere from half to two-thirds of a household’s monthly income. These kinds of  astronomical rents can cause families who would otherwise be financially secure to live lives of abject poverty just to keep a roof over their heads.

The article sites as an example the Bronx, in New York City, where rent can average $1,800 per month. The median income in that region is  below $35,000. So, while residents make less than $3,000 per month, $1,800 of that, on average, is going to their landlords.  Depending  on exactly how far below that $35,000 mark the renter’s income falls, that is easily well over half of their monthly income, just to keep a roof over their heads. This is an absurd amount to have to put towards one expense.

The standard that is considered affordable for rent anywhere in the United States is thirty percent of a person’s monthly income. Even there, for many people, especially individuals with large debts like medical bills or student loans to factor into the equation, that figure may still be a bit high. However, that thirty percent mark is considered the average for most individuals. Anything above that is venturing further into the realm of unaffordable housing. That type of burden forces families to make huge cutbacks on other essentials, such as food or health care, just to keep themselves in their homes.

This is why we at The Bonnie Barbieri Team try to convince people of the value of homeownership. With rents as astronomically high as they have been in recent years, many people would be better served to take the leap into homeownership and save themselves some money. If you are looking to buy a home from the fastest rising Realtor in Spring Hill, Florida, contact us today. Email SOLD@bonniebarbieri.com or call 352-263-3599.

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