Category Archives for "Buying a Home"

Lake mirror home equity
Jun 01

Home Equity 101

By Brittany Graham | Buying a Home , Real Estate News & Tools , Selling Your Home

Hi all! Today we’re going to start a series of blog posts getting back to basics! We realize that real estate can be confusing when you’re not a Realtor – heck, we even get cases that challenge our problem solving skills! We thought it might be a good idea to, at least once in awhile, answer the most common questions we hear. Two things before we get started:

  • We are not lawyers and none of this constitutes legal advice! Please consult a real estate attorney if you have any legal questions. Phew, now the *official* disclaimer is out of the way!
  • We’re addressing some FAQs here, but we are ALWAYS happy to talk in person! Whether you’re ready to sell right now or just want to have a conversation, please don’t hesitate to connect with us so we can answer these questions with respect to your specific situation.

What exactly is home equity?

Good question! Simply put, home equity is the market value of your home minus the total of any liens against it. In non-Realtor-speak, it’s the amount your home is worth minus what you owe. Make sense? For example, let’s say the fair market value of your home is $250,000 and you still owe $200,000 on your mortgage loan. The difference between the two, in this case $50,000 is what you have in equity. It’s the real property value of your home to you.

How do I get home equity?

Better question! Home equity is an awesome thing to build and there are a few ways to go about it! The first is to put a down payment on your home when you purchase it. If you purchase a home for $250,000 and immediately put $50,000 down on it, you now have $50,000 in home equity (leaving closing costs and other fees out of the equation for the moment).

Another way to build home equity is to pay against the principal of your mortgage. Let’s say you’re paying an extra $1,000 per month on your mortgage payment. A percentage of that will go toward paying down the principal balance of the mortgage faster, so you’ll build home equity faster.

As the fair market value of your home increases, like we’ve seen in recent years with rising property values, the home equity of your loan increases similarly. If you can sell your home that you purchased for $250,000 at $300,000 – boom, $50,000 more in equity.

A riskier way of building home equity is through renovation. Let’s say you spend $20,000 on a kitchen renovation that increases the market value of your home by $25,000. Excellent! You’ve earned $25,000 of equity and profited $5,000. The flip side (get it?) of the renovation strategy is that there are a number of scenarios where you don’t build as much equity as the cost of your reno – if you over-renovate for the neighborhood, spend money on something that doesn’t traditionally get as much back (we’re looking at you, swimming pools), or renovate to your specific taste without considering a buyer’s perspective, you may lose money on your renovation.

This is all great! So home equity only increases, right?

Unfortunately, no. While homeownership is one of the most stable investments, as we’ve all seen, it’s not without a certain amount of risk. When you’re riding the market to build equity, it’s just as possible that home values decrease than increase. If that happens, you’re losing equity. If you get locked into a mortgage with an unfavorable rate or repeatedly refinance, you could lose equity even as you make timely payments. These are obviously situations to be avoided, so it’s important to work with a Realtor and a mortgage lender you trust to steer you away from these possibilities.

Why does it matter? What is equity doing for me anyway?

Home equity is, by definition, not liquid (when you can repeatedly buy and sell and investment without affecting its price). For that reason, it’s important to consider how you might make that equity work for you. Home equity management is the process by which you invest the equity in your home, usually through loans then further investments, with liquid assets. Yes, all of this takes a lot of math, careful planning, and a certain amount of risk, but it’s how you can put the equity in your home to work for you.

Phew, that was a lot!

We know it is. While we handle scores of buy/sell transactions every year, the average person only moves 11.3 times in their entire life (as of 2015) and obviously not all of those involve buying and/or selling a home.

It’s our job to know how to navigate the real estate world and our privilege to assist you in the process! Connect with us today – via text, phone, or social media – so we can talk about how to figure out your home’s fair market value and how much equity you likely have in your home. Even better, we can talk about listing your home now while the market is favorable to maximizing equity and putting it to work for you in your next home!

View Of Downtown Lakeland from Lake Mirror
May 13

Search for Waterfront Property in Central Florida

By Brittany Graham | Buying a Home , Uncategorized

One of the best things about living in Central Florida is the abundance of waterfront property! Whether it’s a peaceful lake or beachside, you can’t skip a stone without finding a home on the water! (See what we did there?) We know it’s daunting to find a property to begin with, much less when you want something specific, so we created this hot sheet to help!

Use our site to search for home listings in Central Florida situation on waterfront property. These listings are updated continuously, so you’ll always have the latest info. When you’re ready, let us know and we can help get the ball rolling on your beautiful new home on the water!

Trapnell Rd Land For Sale
Apr 13

Search for Property on 2+ Acres in Central Florida

By Brittany Graham | Buying a Home

Home listings on property with acreage are definitely the new black! A home on a large lot or parcel has enough room for your RV, boat, horses, and enough room to roam. You’ll have plenty of room for kids to explore in the backyard. You could even look for a property with old growth trees to give you plenty of privacy from noise and neighbors. Find your very home secluded slice of heaven that’s just a little closer to civilization than that cabin in the woods you’ve had your eye on.

Use our site to search for home listings in Central Florida with lot sizes between 2 and 10 acres. These listings are updated continuously, so you’ll always have the latest info. When you’re ready, let us know and we can help get the ball rolling on your beautiful new home AND property!

Price Change - 3 weeks ago
$375,000
Single Family Home For Sale
Active
3
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,940
SQFT
26415 Dixieland Way
Dade City, FL 33523
N/A Subdivision
$375,000
Single Family Home For Sale
Active
3
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,702
SQFT
1430 Turkey Lane
Kissimmee, FL 34746
CENTERLINE/CRESTRIDGE DRIVE Subdivision
$375,000
Single Family Home For Sale
Active
3
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,726
SQFT
3080 Ulman Avenue
North Port, FL 34286
NORTH PORT CHARLOTTE ESTATES ADD 02 Subdivision
$375,000
Single Family Home For Sale
Active
3
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,468
SQFT
5315 Pless Rd, 9.8 Acres Mol
Plant City, FL 33565
N/A Subdivision
$375,000
Single Family Home For Sale
Active
4
BED
3
TOTAL BATHS
2,153
SQFT
3629 Smith Ryals Road
Plant City, FL 33567
UNPLATTED Subdivision
$375,000
Single Family Home For Sale
Active
3
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
2,621
SQFT
2680 Tiffany Drive
New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168
TIFFANY ESTATES Subdivision
$375,000
Single Family Home For Sale
Active
4
BED
3
TOTAL BATHS
2,081
SQFT
7311 Glen Meadow Dr
Lakeland, FL 33810
COUNTRY VIEW ESTATES Subdivision
New Listing - 2 weeks online
$374,900
Single Family Home For Sale
Active
3
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,484
SQFT
3950 Doe Drive
St Cloud, FL 34772
SEMINOLE LAND & INV CO Subdivision
Price Change - 2 weeks ago
$374,900
Single Family Home For Sale
Active
5
BED
3
TOTAL BATHS
3,437
SQFT
7130 SW 93rd Street Road
Ocala, FL 34476
COUNTRYSIDE FARMS OF OCALA Subdivision
$374,450
Single Family Home For Sale
Active
3
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,730
SQFT
2652 County Road 202
Oxford, FL 34484
NO SUBDIVISION Subdivision
Foreclosure
$372,300
Single Family Home For Sale
Active
3
BED
5
TOTAL BATHS
4,276
SQFT
98 Mountain Lake
Lake Wales, FL 33898
MOUNTAIN LAKE UNREC Subdivision
$370,000
Single Family Home For Sale
Active
3
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
2,136
SQFT
3429 16th Avenue SE
Ruskin, FL 33570
RUSKIN COLONY FARMS 1ST EXTENS Subdivision
$370,000
Single Family Home For Sale
Active
2
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,120
SQFT
6113 County Road 500
Wildwood, FL 34785
INDIAN OAKS Subdivision
New Listing - 3 days online
$370,000
Single Family Home For Sale
Active
4
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
2,149
SQFT
9618 Moore Road
Lakeland, FL 33809
NOT IN SUBDIVISION Subdivision
Price Change - a week ago
$369,900
Single Family Home For Sale
Active
4
BED
3
TOTAL BATHS
1,794
SQFT
3011 Logue Road
Myakka City, FL 34251
 
$369,900
Single Family Home For Sale
Active
3
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
2,900
SQFT
Address Withheld
Leesburg, FL 34748
 
Price Change - a week ago
$369,900
Single Family Home For Sale
Active
4
BED
3
TOTAL BATHS
2,352
SQFT
1670 Sundance Drive
St Cloud, FL 34771
BAY LAKE RANCH UNIT 02 Subdivision
New Listing - 3 days online
$369,900
Single Family Home For Sale
Active
4
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
2,102
SQFT
6435 Dixie Way
Mims, FL 32754
FONTAINE GRANT RESUB Subdivision
Price Change - 4 weeks ago
$369,500
Single Family Home For Sale
Active
3
BED
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,939
SQFT
6354 Dunbarton Street
North Port, FL 34291
NORTH PORT CHARLOTTE ESTATES ADD 01 Subdivision
$367,900
Single Family Home For Sale
Active
4
BED
3
TOTAL BATHS
3,376
SQFT
9061 E Sweetwater Drive
Inverness, FL 34450
SWEETWATER POINTE Subdivision
Apr 11

Top 5 Tools to Make You a Neighborhood Detective

By Brittany Graham | Buying a Home , Lakeland Life , Neighborhoods , Real Estate News & Tools

We love helping new visitors and transplants to the Polk County area discover Lakeland and the surrounding cities! It can be stressful, however, to move to a new place thanks to work/family/etc. without much info. Here are several tools to give you all the data on the key factors that you may want to know when looking at a new neighborhood:

Foursquare.com

Foursquare, and it’s social media sister-site Swarm, is a great resource when you’re looking for a new location or for when you’re traveling. You can get a great overview of everything an area has to offer by searching categories like “coffee” or “breakfast”. You can also search based on businesses or locations that are trending, so you can get a feel for the up and coming things a city has to offer.

City-Data.com

For the math geek in all of us, there is City-Data.com. It has all the info you could ever hope to have about a city, compiled from public records and government data. One of the things we love about this site is that it not only gives you current stats, but also shows historical data (where available) so you can get a feel for how things change over time.

Livability.com

This site is the user-friendly version of City-Data.com. It’s got all the same info, but it’s presented in easier to view formats with eye-catching charts and graphics. We also love their Top lists, highlighting interesting points about what makes a great city for entrepreneurs or people who are self-employed!

GreatSchools.org

You’ve probably already heard of this one – it’s the gold standard for area school research based on the most current available data. You can search for specific cities, then narrow down your search for elementary/middle/high schools and other options. There is good content on the site as well, including info for college prep and planning.

SpotCrime.com

It can be hard to get an accurate view of the crime in a particular neighborhood. Spot Crime does a fair job of reporting all of the official incidents in an area within a giving time frame. You can also use the map feature to see where incidents are reported most frequently and the types of crimes that occur, information that can be hard to discern from simply search police records.

Whether you’ve done all your neighborhood research or you’re just beginning your search, we can help you find a great home! Call 863-602-8605 to let the Home Connection Group put our connections to work for you!