Tips For Finding Cities With Affordable Housing
As inflation rises and more Americans are working remotely, many people are looking to relocate out of state to find more affordable cities. According to the 2022 Moving Migration Report, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Arizona, and Florida were the most popular states for inbound...Read more
Tax Benefits of Florida Homeownership
Florida attracts residents from all over the world with a warm subtropical climate and breathtaking beaches. Aside from the lifestyle perks, there are significant tax benefits of Florida homeownership. Establishing Florida residency offers major tax benefits with no income or estate tax, a...Read more
Buying For Sale By Owner
If you are buying a home that is a for sale by owner (FSBO), you will need some professional assistance. Your offer will need to be submitted on a contract that is approved by the Florida Bar. Don’t get taken advantage of. Protect yourself with a home inspection, appraisal, and title...Read more
Budgeting for a Home Purchase
Do your Homework:
Budgeting for a home purchase requires calculating your monthly income and expenses to determine how much can you comfortably afford. You will need to assess your savings to ensure you have enough to cover your down payment and closing costs.
Calculate the Cost of Homeownership...
Getting Pre-approved for a Mortgage
PRE-QUALIFICATION VS PRE-APPROVAL
A lender can pre-qualify you to buy a house after a quick conversation about your income, assets, and down payment. Unfortunately, a prequalification has no value to sellers and little value to you. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is completely different, a...
Finding a Great Lender
The Mortgage Shopping Guide
How to Shop for A Mortgage: Types of Lenders & Key Questions to Ask:
You have 45 Days to shop for a mortgage without affecting your credit.
Costs vary, lenders offer different products, and there are so many different personalities. You can shop as many as you like...
Building your Home Buying Team
Find a Real Estate Agent
The first step in the home buying process is to find a real estate agent. Your advocate and team leader. Your agent will organize your entire home buying experience, ensuring a smooth transaction. They might make it look easy, but behind the scenes, they work nonstop for...
Online Shopping, Real Estate Apps & Sales Pitches
Avoid Gimmicks & Real Estate Scams
Be weary of real estate websites that offer deals that seem too good to be true. Here are a few common real estate scams to look out for:
Your Home Sold, Guaranteed- or we will buy it Yup, for 60% of its value then assign the contract before closing to...Read more
Property Types: fee-simple, condominium concepts, villas & more
So you’ve decided to make a home purchase. Now it’s time to do your research. There are quite a few property types to choose from. The property type you choose will impact what type of financing you can qualify for, how much you will need to spend, and ultimately the type of...Read more
Location: Cities, Neighborhoods, Schools and Lifestyle Choices
Do your city and neighborhood research. You are not just buying a house, you’re buying a neighborhood, a city, schools, amenities, conveniences, and inconveniences too. And that is likely the most important element of seeing a property in person. With Real-ativity, it’s easy to get a great...Read more
Touring Homes & Open Houses
Open House Tips for Buyers
Open houses are incredible learning experiences. They provide a chance to get familiar with different layouts (outside of pictures) and see some neighborhoods! Planning ahead makes all the difference. Here are some good open house tips for buyers:
Get a LIST of...Read more
How to Make an Offer on a House
After exploring all your options, you’ve found the perfect house. Now you’ll need to know how to make an offer on a house. Offers begin on contracts, usually standardized. Your agent will explain all relevant terms and contingencies to you before drafting up an offer for you to...Read more
Real Estate contingencies are conditions of the contract that are in place to protect the buyer and seller from things that could go wrong during the transaction. Each condition must be met to ensure that the sale progresses in a timely manner. Your agent will walk you through them step-by-step to...Read more
Negotiating a Home Purchase
Negotiating a home purchase requires in-depth knowledge. Your agent should be well versed on market value in the area to properly negotiate the price. But the needed expertise is not limited to price. Your agent will need to have a full understanding of common negotiables and contingencies...Read more
Applying for the Home Loan
OFFICIALLY APPLYING FOR A HOME LOAN
Preparedness is key! You are ready to officially apply for a home loan. You know the best lender for you, you have identified the best financial product for your purchase, and you have an executed real estate contract in hand for the perfect home. Now you have...Read more
Buying a home is a big deal, make sure to have the home inspected to avoid unpleasant surprises and unexpected difficulties. You’ll want to learn as much as you can about the newly constructed or existing house before you buy it. A home inspection may identify the need for major repairs, builder...Read more
What is a Real Estate Appraisal?
A real estate appraisal is an unbiased professional opinion of a home’s value. The appraisal assures the lender that they aren’t handing the borrower more money than the home is worth and that you are not overpaying!
Lenders want to make sure that you are not...
Your lender will require that you have homeowners insurance coverage at the time you close. How much coverage they require depends on the lender, but it must be at least enough to entirely rebuild the house in the event of a disaster. Often, you’ll be required to purchase one year’s coverage in...Read more
Buyers Home Warranty
A buyer’s home warranty can provide peace of mind when purchasing a used home. Resale properties usually offer better deals than new construction, but the tradeoff is older systems and appliances that could require repair in the near future. You can request a buyer’s home warranty...Read more
Title insurance protects you and your property against title defects such as past owner’s mechanic liens, debt, tax liens, zoning violations, building code violations, past due utility bills, closing errors, marital rights, inheritance issues, and other claims of ownership that may have been...Read more
Final Walkthrough Inspection
A final walkthrough gives you the opportunity to inspect the home one last time before closing. Your agent will escort you to the walkthrough to ensure the home is broom clean condition, that any repairs that you negotiated with the seller were completed properly, all personal property included...Read more
What Happens When Closing On A Home Sale?
Are you closing on a home sale soon? At Real-ativity, we want to educate and inspire you to navigate the world of residential real estate. You have read up in our “smarts” section for all the steps to either sell or buy a home. You have a fully executed contract and a closing date...Read more
After You Close Checklist
Print this moving checklist so that you don’t miss a beat after you close. Moving can be overwhelming, take it step by step.
Arrange for movers or packing materials
Notify your utility services at both your current and future residence
Research and contact service...
Real Estate: What is a Seller’s Market?
If you’re considering selling your home, you’ll need to know more about current market conditions to determine the list price, set realistic expectations for how long your home will take to sell, and what renovations and repairs you should do before listing. Generally speaking,...Read more
Comparative Market Analysis Explained
What is a Comparative Market Analysis?
A comparative market analysis, often referred to as a CMA, is a real estate agent’s estimate of market value based on recent sales of similar homes in the same neighborhood. A CMA is useful for sellers to determine a list price for their home, and...Read more
What is the Absorption Rate in Real Estate
The absorption rate in real estate is the rate at which listed homes in a given market will sell over a defined time frame. A community can be defined as a neighborhood, city, zip code, county, or metropolitan statistical area. This important statistic will help you figure out how long it will...Read more
How Does Real Estate Commission Work in Florida?
The Listing Agreement Determines the Real Estate Commission
When listing your home for sale with a real estate agent, you will sign a listing agreement. A listing agreement is a contract between the homeowner and the real estate agent’s brokerage that will lay out the commission rate. ...
Common Negotiables & Red Flags in The Listing Agreement
A listing agreement is a contract between you and your agent’s brokerage that will lay out the terms and conditions of the listing. There are three different types of listing agreements you should be familiar with, although the most common is the Exclusive-Right-of-Sale. Find out which...Read more
Getting Your Home Ready to Sell: A Checklist
Checklist for Preparing to Sell Your Home
We suggest a three-month lead time before you put your home on the market, this will give you time to get organized, reduce clutter, and make the home presentable. Below you will find our tips for preparing to sell your home and a checklist to...Read more
Seller’s Disclosure: Building Code Violations
You Must Disclose All Known Building Code Violations
When you are selling a property, you must make buyers aware of any fact that materially affects the property. If you have building code violations, or pending citations that are in the process of being recorded you must disclose all the details...Read more
Seller’s Disclosure: Property Condition
What is a Seller’s Disclosure
A Seller’s Disclosure is a comprehensive document listing any known issues with the property and anything that may materially affect the value of the property. A Seller’s Disclosure should include systematic, structural, electrical, plumbing,...Read more
Marketing Your Home
Marketing Your Home to Sell Fast for Top Dollar
Listing your property on the multiple listing service is a start, but really it’s the bare minimum. If you want to get top dollar, exposure is the name of the game. Your agent should be marketing your home with all of the following:
Book 4k...Read more
What is a Real Estate Appraisal?
A home appraisal is an unbiased professional opinion of a home’s value. The appraisal assures the lender that they aren’t handing the borrower more money than the home is worth and that you are not overpaying!
Lenders want to make sure that you are not...
Curb Appeal for Home Staging
Potential buyers formulate their first impression of a home from the outside. This is why creating an attractive, pleasant, and meticulously manicured exterior is of great importance while you get your home ready to sell. Before you put your home on the market,...Read more
Preparing for Open Houses
Open Houses are a Great Opportunity for Exposure
Properly preparing for an open house is very important. Open houses are a chance for potential buyers to view your home. If the open house is heavily marketed and has a good turnout, buyers will perceive a competitive environment and will be more...Read more
How to Get a Mortgage Pre-Approval
Mortgage Preapproval vs Prequalification
There is a big difference between mortgage preapproval and prequalification. A lender can prequalify you after a quick conversation, but sellers won’t take your offer very seriously. Whereas a preapproval will tell sellers that your lender has...Read more
Financing a Co-op
Financing a co-op can be difficult because this unique form of ownership is not considered as holding real property. Co-ops are buildings communally owned by a corporation. Each owner receives shares of stock in the corporation, and the building often resides on leased land.
Financing a Co-Op...
Financing a Townhouse
Financing a Townhouse with Government-Backed Loans and Conventional Mortgages
Generally, townhouses are eligible for the same loan products as single-family homes. Government-backed loans like FHA, FHA 203K, and VA loans are available as well as a wide variety of conventional conforming and...
Financing a Duplex
Financing a Duplex
Financing a duplex depends on whether you plan to use the property as your primary residence. Duplexes, two residences in one building, have some great advantages for a buyer. Live on one side and rent the other as a mortgage subsidy or as an investment for an...
Financing a Condo
Down Payment Requirements to Finance a Condo
The condo association or elected board in some buildings may require larger down payments when financing a condo to hedge against default. They usually require larger equity positions in purchases to protect communal assets. The reasoning is that if a...Read more
Fixed Rate Vs. Adjustable Rate Mortgage
What is the Difference Between Adjustable-Rate and Fixed-Rate Mortgages?
The difference between fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages is exactly what it sounds like. With a fixed-rate mortgage, your interest rate remains fixed. While the interest rate for an adjustable-rate is adjustable. ...
Different Types of Loans
There are many different types of loans available for your home purchase. The right loan product for you will depend on the type of property you are purchasing, property condition, your credit history, your budget and savings for a down payment, and the length of time you plan on owning the...Read more
FHA Financing Has Loose Standards: Making Home Ownership Accessible to More People
FHA stands for Federal Housing Administration. FHA loans are backed by the government. This government insurance mitigates the lender’s risk; as a result, FHA financing is easier to qualify for than...Read more
So you have decided to purchase a home and now it’s time to explore the many different types of loans available to finance your purchase. While it’s important to explore all your options, researching conventional loans is a good place to start.
What is a Conventional Loan?
Most Common Negotiables in a Real Estate Transaction:
While many home buyers and sellers focus on price, there are many common negotiables in a real estate transaction that you should be aware of.
Earnest Money Deposit: How Much? Is it due in one lump sum or multiple installments? At what...
Negotiating Repairs After Inspection
Negotiations After a Home Inspection: Tips for Getting Repairs & Closing Credits
Nearly all home inspection reports list items in need of repair or replacement. Negotiations after home inspection are common. If major defects that require costly repairs come up, it’s reasonable to...Read more
What is an Appraisal?
An appraisal is an unbiased professional opinion of a home’s value. The appraisal assures the lender that they aren’t handing the borrower more money than the home is worth and that you are not overpaying! Appraisal negotiations take place when the home is appraised...Read more
Force Majeure or “Acts of God” like Hurricanes
What to do if a major storm or hurricane is headed your way while you are under contract?
Great news, the Florida standard real estate contract known as the FloridaRealtors/FloridaBar-ASIS-5x contains a force majeure clause. This clause protects the transaction, ensuring that all parties are...Read more
What Is CAM
What is CAM?
CAM stands for Common Area Maintenance and is also known as “Operating Expenses”. In a commercial lease, a CAM provision requires the tenant to pay their pro-rata share of the operating and maintenance expenses for the building or shopping center. This usually covers...Read more
What is a Comprehensive Home Inspection?
A comprehensive home inspection evaluates the general condition of the property. The home inspector will assess hundreds of items throughout the house, from the foundation to the roof, inside and out. Not all home defects are immediately identifiable with...Read more
Mold Inspection Process
A mold inspection is a visual & lab-tested examination of a home’s environment to determine if mold is present. It entails sampling the air, identifying any areas of moisture intrusion, inspecting for non-visible mold, and evaluating any existing mold or mildew...Read more
Four Point Inspection
What is a Four-Point Inspection?
The four-point inspection is also known as the ‘Insurance Quote’ inspection. Once a home reaches a certain age, many insurance carriers would like to take a peek at the four main sources of insurance claims: the roof, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC. This...Read more
Wind Mitigation Inspection
WHAT ARE WIND MITIGATION INSPECTIONS
Wind Mitigation inspections evaluate the roof covering and installation to predict how the home will hold up in a hurricane. The inspector will assess roof-to-wall ties, the roof deck attachment, windows, doors, and secondary water resistance. This evaluation...Read more
Moving To Florida With Your Pets
If you’re planning on moving to South Florida with your pets be sure that you limit your home search to communities that will accept your fur babies. Be careful when browsing “pet-friendly” listings. A listing might say that a community is pet-friendly, but that doesn’t mean the...Read more
Pet-Friendly 55 Plus Communities In Florida
Looking to retire in Florida with your fur babies? Finding pet-friendly 55 plus communities in Florida can be a daunting task because pet policies in gated communities are usually very specific, but the information available to potential buyers...Read more
Are Emotional Support Animals Service Animals
Service Animals vs Emotional Support Animals
Service animals are classified differently than emotional support animals. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), “Assistance animals are not pets. There are two types of assistance animals: (1) service animals,...Read more
South Florida Pet Adoption and Rescue Organizations
Pet adoption is very rewarding. You can save a life while enhancing your own with a loyal companion. If you’re new to the Sunshine State and plan to complete your new home with a furbaby, the Real-ativity Pet Guide will help you discover the best South Florida pet services from highly...Read more
Palm Beach County Dog Parks and Beaches
Palm Beach County Dog Parks
Palm Beach County Dog Parks provide a great venue for happy pups to socialize and exercise. Most feature fenced areas where dogs can run off leash with separate play areas for small and large dogs. However, not all Palm Beach County dog parks are created equally. ...Read more
Broward County Dog Parks and Beaches
Broward County Dog Parks & Beaches
Broward County is a great place to live with dogs! Aside from Broward County dog parks, there are a plethora of dog-friendly amenities and services. There are so many picturesque areas to walk your pup, dog-friendly outside dining venues, and breweries...Read more
South Florida Pet Supply Stores
Floridians love to pamper their pets so it’s no surprise that there are plenty of South Florida pet supply stores to choose from. From eclectic boutiques with blingy collars to all-natural pet food stores with freshly baked dog treats, South Florida pet parents have a plethora of options...Read more
South Florida Pet Groomers
Finding the perfect South Florida pet groomers can be tricky as there are so many to choose from. Below you will find a list of the highest-rated cat and dog groomers in Palm Beach and Broward Counties. We’ve got you covered whether you are looking for a groomer that uses all-natural...Read more
Dog Trainers in South Florida
A well-trained dog is a happy dog. There are so many pet-friendly establishments and great dog parks in South Florida, but your furbaby needs good training to take advantage of all these doggie amenities safely. Dogs that lack basic obedience and are not well-socialized can cause fights at the...Read more
South Florida Dog Walkers & Pet Sitters
Having peace of mind that your fur babies are safe, entertained, and well cared for while you are at work or on vacation is a priority for responsible pet parents. It can be difficult to trust strangers with your pets while you are away. If you decide to hire a South Florida dog walker or pet...Read more