Archive for September, 2013

137 King Arthur Court: Affordable 4-Bedroom Home In a Great School District

Monday, September 30th, 2013

by Sean Hess (Sean@StAugTeam.com), Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (www.StAugustineTeamRealty.com). Join us on Facebook.

We just listed this great home at 137 King Arthur Court in St. Augustine. Here’s the skinny:

Like new, this 4-bedroom (4th bedroom is a conforming bonus room / office), 2.5 bath home will wow you with all its size. Bright and beautiful with plenty of space, it includes a big kitchen with two closet pantries and a kitchen island. Big formal living room, separate family room and formal dining rooms. Outside there’s a big fenced yard. Lake view. Concrete block construction. New Carpet, New paint. Children’s play set stays with home. Fantastic school district includes W.D. Hartley Elementary and Gamble Rogers Middle schools.

Click here to find out more about 137 King Arthur Court, and make sure you watch the short video below:

Want to know more? Call or text my partner Ron Barry at (904) 501-2424. 

Find Sean on Google+.

Dream Big When You Start Looking for a House

Friday, September 27th, 2013

by Sean Hess (Sean@StAugTeam.com), Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (www.StAugustineTeamRealty.com). Join us on Facebook.

Dream Big, image courtesy of Nomadic Lass on Flickr.

Dream Big, image courtesy of Nomadic Lass on Flickr.

I was at a wedding last month someone asked me, “What do I need to do to buy a new house?”

Normally Realtors get hung up on that question. Do you get a Realtor first? Do you get a lender first? We get stuck on this which-came-first-the-chicken-or-the-egg question and probably go into too much detail.

In this case I just blurted out, “Dream!” and I think that’s the best answer I’ve ever given.

Yep, for starters just dream and dream big.

Get online and just start looking at houses (next week I’ll give you some pointers on where to look…but for starters go to Realtor.com).

This is the time to live large. Find your dream mansion and see what it actually costs. Look at homes in your dream neighborhood or your dream school district and see what it would actually cost to live there.

What you’ll be doing is educating yourself about the market. You probably already have a good idea of what you can and can’t afford, so look in some neighborhoods that you think are “off limits” because of price. You might be surprised. And if you can’t afford them it’s still fun to window shop, and you won’t be tempted to look at things you can’t afford in person, when you actually get out into the field with a Realtor.

Here’s what not to do. DO NOT drive around and window shop for real, DO NOT to call on for sale signs that you see, and DO NOT to go into open houses (new construction or otherwise) that you see when you are NOT supposed to be driving around. :-)

There will be time for that later, after you get your ducks in a row. If you go out now you might be tempted to run in and buy the first place you see, and negotiate a bad price with a too-aggressive monthly payment.

Chill. Stay online for now. And next week we’ll cover the next steps.

Have you been online enough already? Just email Kate Stevens, Broker Associate and my partner at St. Augustine Team, (904-377-2276).  She can help you with the next step.

Image kind courtesy of Nomadic Lass.

Find Sean on Google+.

Will NEW Flood Insurance Regulations Effect You?

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

by Sean Hess (Sean@StAugTeam.com), Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (www.StAugustineTeamRealty.com). Join us on Facebook and me on Google+.

If St. Augustine get hits by the Big One, this is what will happen...

If St. Augustine get hits by the Big One, this is what will happen. "Dude, don't talk about flood insurance, you're killing my buzz." Image www.SurfBlogSpot.com

The National Flood Insurance Program will start boosting rates on October 1, 2013. I just attended a seminar at the local Board of Realtors where a panel of insurance specialists outlined the changes and here are some key take aways.

Take away Number One: If Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke twerking at the VMA awards is the hottest thing trending in recent weeks, then combining insurance and real estate in the same room is the anti-Miley Cyrus twerking. But I’m in the business so I had to go. It was actually more imformative than Miley grinding away against Robin, anyway.

Okay, for real now:

1) The flood zone maps for St. Johns County, St. Augustine, St. Augustine Beach, and Hastings have NOT been redrawn or changed in any way. Flood zone maps are redrawn from time to time, but the local ones have not been changed.

2) Zones with the letter “A” or the letter “V” are where rates may go up as high as 25% a year. Especially if the home was built before 1974.

3) If you are in zones “A” or “V,” you need to talk to your insurance agent about your new rates. It is my understanding that if you have a current flood policy, and your flood elevation certificate was done after 2008, you don’t need a new certificate. Otherwise you need to get a new flood elevation certificate (you get them from surveyors and they cost between $125-$250), your insurance agent will submit this to the flood insurance program, and this will “set” your new rate in these “A” and “V” zones. Depending on the base flood elevation of the home (as determined by the flood elevation certificate) your current rate may go up or may go down. However, it is my understanding that if you don’t submit a flood insurance certificate it will automatically go up 25% a year. Check with your insurance agent for clarification, but that is how I understand it.

4) Insurance flood elevation is based on the lowest floor where equipment / living area is. So if a home has a crawl space, this might buy you an extra foot or two. Also, there are things you can do to flood proof the home that may take $$ off your rate. Your insurance agent can tell you what these are. It was discussed that it might be cheaper to raise a home already on a crawlspace even higher, than pay the new flood insurance rates.

5) New flood policies in any zone will require an elevation certificate. Duh.

6) If a home is in zone X, for example, but the lot is in zone A, then the flood zone for insurance purposes is zone X. However, if even the tiniest amount of the home, even a patio, touches the A zone, the home has to have A zone flood insurance.

7) Flood elevation certificates should now be done as part of a home’s regular inspections. Normally they are one of the last things done, as part of the survey. By the way, a survey is NOT an elevation certificate. They are two separate things (but they are both done by surveyors, and usually at the same time).

8) Congress did this because the flood insurance program was heavily subsidized, and they are now trying to make the rates in line with the actual risk.

9) If the Big One hits and there’s a Teahupoo Size Wave, half the town is going to be in the water anyway, more worried about being crushed by the wave than returning to a water damaged home. Such is life in St. Augustine!

Need help buying or selling a home (and finding a good insurance agent)? Hire St. Augustine Team Realty! Just email Kate Stevens, Broker Associate, or call (904) 377-2276.

All images, video and audio not in the public domain are used in accordance with the Fair Use Law (Per Title 17–United States Code–Section 107) and remain the property of the film or photo copyright owners.  Image from www.SurfBlogSpot.com

The Dumbest Thing I Ever Did As A Realtor (With Extra Bonus Dumb Thing Included)

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

by Sean Hess (Sean@StAugTeam.com), Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (www.StAugustineTeamRealty.com). Join us on Facebook and me on Google+.

This transaction was one big pitfall.

This transaction was one big pitfall.

Okay, I can admit I’ve done some dumb things. As I look back on over 12 years as a Realtor one dumb thing really stands out…

I had a seller raise their price.

Definitely not as sexy as the Realtor who let their buyers move into a house before closing (and got fired for it), but still pretty dumb.

Here’s what happened.

I think it was 2004 and prices were going through the roof. I got a contract on a property with something like a 90-days-to-close window.

Because the price would be trending higher in 90 days, I thought it would be good to put the property (already under contract) at a higher price in MLS for any backup offers.

Well the buyer walked right before closing (the only buyer I’ve ever had bail out straight up…he just didn’t show), the house went back on the market, the market cooled, suddenly the price was too high, and the seller wouldn’t budge off it.

So the house didn’t sell.

Extra BONUS dumb thing.

Same transaction.

By now you are thinking, “Boy this seller must have wanted to kill you.” No, the sellers were as kind as the day is long. They are still there. I’m thinking it was supposed to work out that way.

Anyway…

So we get an offer earlier in the game. One offer is near list price, with normal contingencies for financing and inspections. One offer is cash, but much lower. So I recommend the higher offer…you would too, right?

Well the higher offer bailed out the day after we accepted it. The cash offer was so miffed it didn’t get chosen it went and bought something else. Ouch.

With apologies to the sellers, but for the Grace of God none of those buyers actually accomplished the sale. In the next two years the price on the property tanked and the buyers would have lost their shirts.

The sellers, on the other hand, still had equity in the property even after the price crash. So, no, they didn’t get “rich,” but they didn’t get rich at someone else’s expense either.

The moral: Always take a cash offer, and never, EVER, raise the price. If the price needs to be raised the market will do that for you (in the form of multiple offers).

It’s a lovely profession I’m in, real estate. Somebody should sell tickets. I’d buy one.

Need help buying or selling a home? Hire St. Augustine Team Realty! Just email Kate Stevens, Broker Associate, or call (904) 377-2276.

All images, video and audio not in the public domain are used in accordance with the Fair Use Law (Per Title 17–United States Code–Section 107) and remain the property of the film or photo copyright owners.  Remember when Pitfall was like the coolest game ever and you used to argue whether Atari was better than Activision? And you listened to a cassette tape of “Bark At The Moon” on a one-speaker boom box while playing it? Now we can play the very retro Pitfall and listen to Ozzy at the same time on our smartphones. It’s amazing, living in the future.

 

New St. Augustine Beach Listing at 141 Whispering Oaks Circle, 32080

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

by Sean Hess (Sean@StAugTeam.com), Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (www.StAugustineTeamRealty.com). Join us on Facebook and me on Google+.

I'm keeping the catnip.

Don't mess with kitty.

We just listed a great custom home at the beach at 141 Whispering Oaks Circle.

It has 4 bedrooms (the 4th bedroom is an office with its own private bath and entry), 3 full baths, and 2165 square feet. It’s got a wonderful open floorplan, great for families that need room to spread out but still want some privacy.

Click here to find out more about 141 Whispering Oaks, and make sure you watch the short video below:

Have a great Realtor when you buy or sell: Hire St. Augustine Team Realty! Just email Kate Stevens, Broker Associate, or call (904) 377-2276.