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2310 Gulf Drive North, #206, Bradenton Beach, Florida 34217
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Key Royale Boat Dock, Holmes Beach, Florida 34217
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2307 Avenue C, Bradenton Beach, Florida 34217
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747 North Shore Drive, Anna Maria, Florida 34216
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Is An Outdoor Kitchen Right For You?

Outdoor Kitchen
By FrontDoor.com

Perfect for the entertainer and culinary connoisseur, an outdoor kitchen brings the heart of the home into the open air and extends a home’s living space.

A great option for those who love to entertain outdoors but hate having to run back and forth with utensils, plates, food and more, an outdoor kitchen can be a very practical way of utilizing time and energy as well as creating a special spot to bring family and friends together.

CURRENT TRENDS

The outdoor kitchen has taken cooking and entertaining to levels that far exceed the standalone charcoal grill.

Accessories such as sub-zero refrigerators, stoves, bread warmers, wine coolers, custom cabinetry, soaker sinks, barbecue, even kegorators for serving beer are now being implemented into outdoor kitchen design.

An outdoor kitchen can now do the duties of a professional chef’s kitchen, all while being steps away from the pool area or fire pit.

Read More

Perfect for the entertainer and culinary connoisseur, an outdoor kitchen brings the heart of the home into the open air and extends a home’s living space.
A great option for those who love to entertain outdoors but hate having to run back and forth with utensils, plates, food and more, an outdoor kitchen can be a very practical way of utilizing time and energy as well as creating a special spot to bring family and friends together.
CURRENT TRENDS
Accessorizing. The outdoor kitchen has taken cooking and entertaining to levels that far exceed the standalone charcoal grill. Accessories such as sub-zero refrigerators, stoves, bread warmers, wine coolers, custom cabinetry, soaker sinks, barbecue, even kegorators for serving beer are now being implemented into outdoor kitchen design. An outdoor kitchen can now do the duties of a professional chef’s kitchen, all while being steps away from the pool area or fire pit.

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Is It More Prudent to Buy or Rent?

Buying a home has many advantages, however, renting comes with few strings attached

Buying a home has many advantages, however, renting comes with few strings attached

By Vanessa Wong – Bloomberg Businessweek
June 3, 2010

To rent or to buy? For millions of Americans, that is the question. The recent housing boom and subsequent bust seem to provide a clear answer—that given an affordable mortgage, we would all rather be buyers.

With the piercing clarity that is 20-20 hindsight, many people burned by the mortgage market may now think differently.  After all, you can’t be foreclosed on if you don’t own in the first place.  For them, renting has become not only the smart move, but the only sensible one

“Many Americans are questioning if home ownership is an inherent element of their dream,” says Tara-Nicholle Nelson, real estate consumer advocate for real estate website Trulia. Part of that dream is also based on economic common sense.

Besides stability and status, owning a home can help build equity, improve credit ratings, and be a tax deduction. Given these benefits, the dream of home ownership is hard to give up, though. Much as sales of gas-guzzling pickups and SUVs are rebounding, Americans seem to need only the slightest nudge to jump back into the housing market.

In April, sales of existing homes rose 7.6 percent nationwide, according to the National Association of Realtors. For new homes, sales surged 14.8 percent, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Read More

“Many Americans are questioning if home ownership is an inherent element of their dream,” says Tara-Nicholle Nelson, real estate consumer advocate for real estate website Trulia. Part of that dream is also based on economic common sense. Besides stability and status, owning a home can help build equity, improve credit ratings, and be a tax deduction. Given these benefits, the dream of home ownership is hard to give up, though. Much as sales of gas-guzzling pickups and SUVs are rebounding, Americans seem to need only the slightest nudge to jump back into the housing market. In April, sales of existing homes rose 7.6 percent nationwide, according to the National Association of Realtors. For new homes, sales surged 14.8 percent, according to the National Association of Home Builders.
To rent or to buy? For millions of Americans, that is the question. The recent housing boom and subsequent bust seem to provide a clear answer—that given an affordable mortgage, we would all rather be buyers.
With the piercing clarity that is 20-20 hindsight, many people burned by the mortgage market may now think differently. After all, you can’t be foreclosed on if you don’t own in the first place. For them, renting has become not only the smart move, but the only sensible one

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House Staging – Does It Help Sell Your House Faster

CHICAGO (AP) – April 22, 2010 – Hiring a decorating and marketing specialist to help sell a house might sound like a frivolous cost to homeowners desperate to salvage every dollar in a fallen market.

Hiring someone to decorate your home will always sound frivolous to certain homeowners. But it really can be too much to take for anyone looking to sell a home in an already depressed market.

Staging Your Home Can Help Sell It Faster

Staging Your Home Can Help Sell It Faster

A quality house at a fair price will sell itself, they figure. Paying a professional stager to rearrange or bring in new furniture, paint the walls neutral colors and hang different pictures surely couldn’t be worth a four-figure fee, the thinking goes.

Or could it?

Real estate professionals insist staging makes a big difference in how quickly a home sells, which can mean a higher sale price, and cite their own figures that show it.

Patrick McLaughlin had such a poor impression of a vacant house he visited at an open house on Long Island that he told his broker friend it would never sell – it felt cold and uninviting. Then he went back after a professional had staged it and ended up buying it.

“They had art work, furniture, sofas, rugs. It added a great deal of warmth to the property,” says McLaughlin, himself a broker in Sag Harbor, N.Y.

More sellers have been turning to staging to make their properties stand out in a market packed with competing houses.

Margaret Gehr, who stages homes in the Chicago suburbs through her business Re-Arrange It Interiors, and her staff staged a home for The Associated Press’ Homeownership Week series. She discussed the growing practice in an interview:

Q: What exactly is home staging?

[Read more]


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Nine Tips to Sell Your Home in 2010

WASHINGTON – March 3, 2010 – Signs of a recovery in the real estate market indicate this may not be the “Winter of your Discount Tent.” Home sales, value and mortgage applications have risen slightly as mortgage rates stand at a historic low.

This slight glimmer of positive news is offset by estimates that about 48 percent of all U.S. mortgages will be underwater by 2011. Foreclosures and short sales continue to plague the market, keeping a lid on home prices. As a result, 2010 will continue to be a buyer’s market.

SOLD!

SOLD!

That doesn’t mean, however, that all hope is lost of selling your home this year. Here are nine tips to sell your home in 2010.

1. Don’t wait for a recovery

Home values aren’t likely to rebound to previous highs for several years, perhaps even a decade. While you may face a loss by selling now, that negative figure may only be a paper loss, particularly if you’ve owned your home for some time.

2. Make improvements

If you have access to credit, invest in improving and repairing your home before placing it on the market, rather than trying to go for a quick as-is sale. Rehabs are more affordable now, thanks to the availability of low financing, reduced construction materials costs and lower contractor charges. Focus on upgrades to kitchens and bathrooms, especially counters and cabinets, as these yield the highest returns. Get three different estimates from contractors and add another 10 percent for unexpected costs.

4. Hire professionals

You need professionals, not friends or relatives, to repair, upgrade and sell the biggest investment you’ll likely own. Ask for credentials, references and a history of recent performance. Your appraiser should have at least five years experience with an appropriate license or certification. The same applies to hiring a home inspector. Talk to at least two or three appraisers and inspectors before selecting one.

5. Get downpayment assistance

Federal and local governments offer several downpayment assistance programs for first-time home buyers. Look for other city, county and state programs that will piggyback on federal programs for assistance. Search for “downpayment assistance programs” with the name of your region.

6. Take Uncle Sam’s help

The $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit program that helped jump-start the real estate market in 2009 has been extended into 2010 and expanded. First-time homebuyers qualify if they sign a binding contract to buy a home by April 30 and close by June 30. The program’s maximum income limits have jumped from $75,000 to $125,000 for individuals and from $150,000 to $225,000 for couples.

A separate $6,500 tax credit has been added for those who have owned their homes for at least five years and want to upgrade. Homeowners drowning in their present real estate loans are eligible for a loan-modification program with their current mortgage company or loan service through the Making Home Affordable Program (http://makinghomeaffordable.gov/).

7. Price accordingly

Listings move when a property is appropriately priced. Others gather dust because the owners haven’t adjusted their expectations to the present market. This doesn’t mean, however, you should severely drop your price on a well-maintained home to avoid extended problems. Research your market and price accordingly.

8. Energy tax credits

Through Dec. 31, homeowners who buy and install specific energy-efficient windows, insulation, roofs, doors and heating and air-conditioning equipment can apply for a 30-percent tax credit of up to $1,500 of their costs on each product.

Go one step further and earn a 30-percent tax credit through 2016 (without a spending limit) when you purchase such energy-saving products as solar energy systems, geothermal heat pumps, small wind systems, residential fuel cells and micro-turbine systems. Visit EnergyStar’s Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency (http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?ctax-credits.tx-index) for a complete summary.

9. It’s not personal

Buyers want to imagine themselves in your house for years to come. Excess decor and knick-knacks distract from this vision. Ask your Realtor’s advice or hire a home stager to bring your house back to zero before beginning to show it. A general rule of thumb is to eliminate or store at least half the items in every room.

Don’t get defensive about colors, design patterns or flooring you installed. Just grit your teeth and think of the closing check while your agent serves as a buffer. Remember the customer is always right, unless, of course, they’re low-balling you.

Nine tips to sell your home in 2010
WASHINGTON – March 3, 2010 – Signs of a recovery in the real estate market indicate this may not be the “Winter of your Discount Tent.” Home sales, value and mortgage applications have risen slightly as mortgage rates stand at a historic low.
This slight glimmer of positive news is offset by estimates that about 48 percent of all U.S. mortgages will be underwater by 2011. Foreclosures and short sales continue to plague the market, keeping a lid on home prices. As a result, 2010 will continue to be a buyer’s market.
That doesn’t mean, however, that all hope is lost of selling your home this year. Here are nine tips to sell your home in 2010.
1. Don’t wait for a recovery
Home values aren’t likely to rebound to previous highs for several years, perhaps even a decade. While you may face a loss by selling now, that negative figure may only be a paper loss, particularly if you’ve owned your home for some time.
2. Make improvements
If you have access to credit, invest in improving and repairing your home before placing it on the market, rather than trying to go for a quick as-is sale. Rehabs are more affordable now, thanks to the availability of low financing, reduced construction materials costs and lower contractor charges. Focus on upgrades to kitchens and bathrooms, especially counters and cabinets, as these yield the highest returns. Get three different estimates from contractors and add another 10 percent for unexpected costs.
4. Hire professionals
You need professionals, not friends or relatives, to repair, upgrade and sell the biggest investment you’ll likely own. Ask for credentials, references and a history of recent performance. Your appraiser should have at least five years experience with an appropriate license or certification. The same applies to hiring a home inspector. Talk to at least two or three appraisers and inspectors before selecting one.
5. Get downpayment assistance
Federal and local governments offer several downpayment assistance programs for first-time home buyers. Look for other city, county and state programs that will piggyback on federal programs for assistance. Search for “downpayment assistance programs” with the name of your region.
6. Take Uncle Sam’s help
The $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit program that helped jump-start the real estate market in 2009 has been extended into 2010 and expanded. First-time homebuyers qualify if they sign a binding contract to buy a home by April 30 and close by June 30. The program’s maximum income limits have jumped from $75,000 to $125,000 for individuals and from $150,000 to $225,000 for couples.
A separate $6,500 tax credit has been added for those who have owned their homes for at least five years and want to upgrade. Homeowners drowning in their present real estate loans are eligible for a loan-modification program with their current mortgage company or loan service through the Making Home Affordable Program (http://makinghomeaffordable.gov/).
7. Price accordingly
Listings move when a property is appropriately priced. Others gather dust because the owners haven’t adjusted their expectations to the present market. This doesn’t mean, however, you should severely drop your price on a well-maintained home to avoid extended problems. Research your market and price accordingly.
8. Energy tax credits
Through Dec. 31, homeowners who buy and install specific energy-efficient windows, insulation, roofs, doors and heating and air-conditioning equipment can apply for a 30-percent tax credit of up to $1,500 of their costs on each product.
Go one step further and earn a 30-percent tax credit through 2016 (without a spending limit) when you purchase such energy-saving products as solar energy systems, geothermal heat pumps, small wind systems, residential fuel cells and micro-turbine systems. Visit EnergyStar’s Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency (http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?ctax-credits.tx-index) for a complete summary.
9. It’s not personal
Buyers want to imagine themselves in your house for years to come. Excess decor and knick-knacks distract from this vision. Ask your Realtor’s advice or hire a home stager to bring your house back to zero before beginning to show it. A general rule of thumb is to eliminate or store at least half the items in every room.
Don’t get defensive about colors, design patterns or flooring you installed. Just grit your teeth and think of the closing check while your agent serves as a buffer. Remember the customer is always right, unless, of course, they’re low-balling you.

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FAQ’s – Reverse Mortgages – Part 1

Ron Scott Interview with Terry Bivins – February 10, 2010

Ron Scott of Bark & Company Realty, Inc., recently interviewed Terry Bivins, a reverse mortgage specialist with Next Generation Financial Services.

Q. Terry, what is a reverse mortgage?

A. It is a program for senior home owners age 62 and over that allows them to access some of the equity in their home, but unlike traditional loans, they never have to make a payment as long as they live there.

Q. How does it get paid back Terry?

Terry Bivins

Terry Bivins

A. When all the borrowers  are no longer living in the property as their primary residence the loan is due, typically the home is sold, the reverse mortgage balance is paid off and the rest of the proceeds go to the borrower or their estate.

Q. What are the qualifications?

A. That’s the great thing about a reverse mortgage, since you are not making payments, there are no income or credit qualifications.  The loan is based on the homes’  value, the interest rate and their ages.

Q. What if they already have a mortgage, can they still get a reverse mortgage?

A. The reverse mortgage will pay off their existing loan eliminating their mortgage payment but they will still be responsible for paying the taxes, insurance and maintaining the property since they still own the house.

Q. How does the borrower get the money Terry?

Ron Scott

Ron Scott

A. They can take a lump sum, receive monthly payments for life, set up a line of credit and draw money as needed or any combination.

Q. How may the money be used?

A. The reverse mortgage converts a dormant asset, the homes’ equity, into a liquid asset that may be used as the homeowner chooses.  It’s their money and it is tax free.

Most often I see existing mortgages being paid off eliminating mortgage payments thus increasing disposable income.  Reverse mortgages are also used for home improvements.

Reverse mortgages may also be used to purchase a new home but let’s leave that discussion for another interview.

Q. Terry, what is your background?

A. I have been in the mortgage business for 28 years and for the past 7 years I have worked exclusively with seniors and reverse mortgages.

Q. How do our readers learn more?

A. Give me a call at 1-877-707-9696, I only need the zip code, date of birth and the estimated home value to create a reverse mortgage proposal.  So, please call 877-707-9696 for a no obligation quote.  I can send them a free CD or DVD on reverse mortgages.  I can also be reached at tbivins@1stmarinerbank.com and my web site is www.reversemortgagenation.com/tbivins.

Next Generation Financial Services is a division of First Mariner Bank that is federally regulated and supervised by the FDIC and Next Generation is an Equal Housing Lender.

February 10, 2010
Ron Scott Interview with Terry Bivins
Ron Scott of Bark & Company recently interviewed Terry Bivins, a reverse mortgage specialist with Next Generation Financial Services.
Q Terry, what is a reverse mortgage?
A  It is a program for senior home owners age 62 and over that allows them to access some of the equity in their home, but unlike traditional loans, they never have to make a payment as long as they live there.
Q. How does it get paid back Terry?
A  When all the borrowers  are no longer living in the property as their primary residence the loan is due, typically the home is sold, the reverse mortgage balance is paid off and the rest of the proceeds go to the borrower or their estate.
Q  What are the qualifications?
A.  That’s the great thing about a reverse mortgage, since you are not making payments, there are no income or credit qualifications.  The loan is based on the homes’  value, the interest rate and their ages.
Q  What if they already have a mortgage, can they still get a reverse mortgage?
A  The reverse mortgage will pay off their existing loan eliminating their mortgage payment but they will still be responsible for paying the taxes, insurance and maintaining the property since they still own the house.
Q  How does the borrower get the money Terry?
A  They can take a lump sum, receive monthly payments for life, set up a line of credit and draw money as needed or any combination.
Q  How may the money be used?
A  The reverse mortgage converts a dormant asset, the homes’ equity, into a liquid asset that may be used as the homeowner chooses.  It’s their money and it is tax free.
Most often I see existing mortgages being paid off eliminating mortgage payments thus increasing disposable income.  Reverse mortgages are also used for home improvements.
Reverse mortgages may also be used to purchase a new home but let’s leave that discussion for another interview.
Q  Terry, what is your background?
A  I have been in the mortgage business for 28 years and for the past 7 years I have worked exclusively with seniors and reverse mortgages.
Q  How do our readers learn more?
A.  Give me a call at 1-877-707-9696, I only need the zip code, date of birth and the estimated home value to create a reverse mortgage proposal.  So, please call 877-707-9696 for a no obligation quote.  I can send them a free CD or DVD on reverse mortgages.  I can also be reached at tbivins@1stmarinerbank.com and my web site is www.reversemortgagenation.com/tbivins.
Next Generation Financial Services is a division of First Mariner Bank that is federally regulated and supervised by the FDIC and Next Generation is an Equal Housing Lender.

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FAQ’s – Reverse Mortgages – Part 2

Ron Scott Interview with Terry Bivins – February 10, 2010

Ron Scott of Bark & Company Realty, Inc., recently interviewed Terry Bivins, a reverse mortgage specialist with Next Generation Financial Services.

Q Terry, I recently read that reverse mortgages may now be used to purchase real estate.  Is that true?

A  Yes, reverse mortgages have been around since 1989 but were only for refinancing a seniors’ home.  In 2009 HUD allowed FHA to insure reverse mortgages used to purchase a home.

Q  How does that work?

Terry Bivins

Terry Bivins

A  A reverse mortgage is for homeowners and home buyers age 62 and over. It allows them to access some of the equity in their home or to use the proceeds to purchase a new home, but unlike traditional loans, they never have to make a payment as long as they live there.

Q  Can you give us a simple example?

A  Sure.  Assuming a person is buying a $400,000 condo in Manatee County they would net after origination fees, closing costs and FHA insurance between $200,000 and $300,000 depending on their age.  They would have to pay the balance from other resources.

Q  So the older you are the more money you can receive with a reverse mortgage.

A.  That’s right. The amount they can receive is based on the age of the youngest borrower, current interest rates, the value or purchase price of the property.

Q  Is there any limit on the size of the loan?  What if they are buying a five million dollar beach front property?

Ron Scott

Ron Scott

A  This is a great program but FHA has a current limit of $625,500 on the amount of insurance they will issue.  So in your example the borrower could get a portion of the $625,500 based on the age of the youngest borrower and then have to pay the balance from cash resources.

Q  Can they borrow the difference between the purchase price and the proceeds from the reverse mortgage?

A  No.  You cannot incur any new debt in conjunction with obtaining a reverse mortgage.  I would assume that a senior buying a home in Florida has proceeds from the sale of another property.

Q  Can you use a reverse mortgage to buy a second home or purchase an investment property?

A  No, a reverse mortgage can only be used in conjunction with the borrowers’ primary residence.

Q  What types of properties qualify?

A    Eligible property types include:  single family homes, condos, townhomes, 1-4 unit multi family homes and manufactured homes meeting strict guidelines.

Q. How does it get paid back Terry?

A  When all the borrowers  are no longer living in the property as their primary residence the loan is due. Typically the home is sold, the reverse mortgage balance is paid off and the rest of the proceeds go to the borrower or their estate.  If the owners are deceased and their heir wants to keep the property, they would need to obtain title and then pay off the reverse mortgage balance with cash or obtain their own mortgage.

Q  What are the qualifications?

A.  That’s the great thing about a reverse mortgage, since you are not making payments, there are no income or credit qualifications.  The loan is based on the homes’  value, the interest rate and their ages.  The owner is responsible for paying the taxes, insurance and maintaining the property since they still own the property.

Q  How do our readers learn more?

A.  Give me a call at 1-877-707-9696, I only need the zip code, date of birth and the estimated home value or purchase price to create a reverse mortgage proposal.  So, please call 877-707-9696 for a no obligation quote.  I can send them a free CD or DVD on reverse mortgages.  I can also be reached at tbivins@1stmarinerbank.com and my web site is www.reversemortgagenation.com/tbivins.

Next Generation Financial Services is a division of First Mariner Bank that is federally regulated and supervised by the FDIC and Next Generation is an Equal Housing Lender.

Ron Scott Interview with Terry Bivins
Ron Scott of Bark & Company recently interviewed Terry Bivins, a reverse mortgage specialist with Next Generation Financial Services.
Q Terry, I recently read that reverse mortgages may now be used to purchase real estate.  Is that true?
A  Yes, reverse mortgages have been around since 1989 but were only for refinancing a seniors’ home.  In 2009 HUD allowed FHA to insure reverse mortgages used to purchase a home.
Q  How does that work?
A  A reverse mortgage is for homeowners and home buyers age 62 and over. It allows them to access some of the equity in their home or to use the proceeds to purchase a new home, but unlike traditional loans, they never have to make a payment as long as they live there.
Q  Can you give us a simple example?
A  Sure.  Assuming a person is buying a $400,000 condo in Manatee County they would net after origination fees, closing costs and FHA insurance between $200,000 and $300,000 depending on their age.  They would have to pay the balance from other resources.
Q  So the older you are the more money you can receive with a reverse mortgage.
A.  That’s right. The amount they can receive is based on the age of the youngest borrower, current interest rates, the value or purchase price of the property.
Q  Is there any limit on the size of the loan?  What if they are buying a five million dollar beach front property?
A  This is a great program but FHA has a current limit of $625,500 on the amount of insurance they will issue.  So in your example the borrower could get a portion of the $625,500 based on the age of the youngest borrower and then have to pay the balance from cash resources.
Q  Can they borrow the difference between the purchase price and the proceeds from the reverse mortgage?
A  No.  You cannot incur any new debt in conjunction with obtaining a reverse mortgage.  I would assume that a senior buying a home in Florida has proceeds from the sale of another property.
Q  Can you use a reverse mortgage to buy a second home or purchase an investment property?
A  No, a reverse mortgage can only be used in conjunction with the borrowers’ primary residence.
Q  What types of properties qualify?
A    Eligible property types include:  single family homes, condos, townhomes, 1-4 unit multi family homes and manufactured homes meeting strict guidelines.
Q. How does it get paid back Terry?
A  When all the borrowers  are no longer living in the property as their primary residence the loan is due. Typically the home is sold, the reverse mortgage balance is paid off and the rest of the proceeds go to the borrower or their estate.  If the owners are deceased and their heir wants to keep the property, they would need to obtain title and then pay off the reverse mortgage balance with cash or obtain their own mortgage.
Q  What are the qualifications?
A.  That’s the great thing about a reverse mortgage, since you are not making payments, there are no income or credit qualifications.  The loan is based on the homes’  value, the interest rate and their ages.  The owner is responsible for paying the taxes, insurance and maintaining the property since they still own the property.
Q  Terry, what is your background?
A  I have been in the mortgage business for 28 years and for the past 7 years I have worked exclusively with seniors and reverse mortgages.
Q  How do our readers learn more?
A.  Give me a call at 1-877-707-9696, I only need the zip code, date of birth and the estimated home value or purchase price to create a reverse mortgage proposal.  So, please call 877-707-9696 for a no obligation quote.  I can send them a free CD or DVD on reverse mortgages.  I can also be reached at tbivins@1stmarinerbank.com and my web site is www.reversemortgagenation.com/tbivins.

Next Generation Financial Services is a division of First Mariner Bank that is federally regulated and supervised by the FDIC and Next Generation is an Equal Housing Lender.


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Four Reasons to Sell Now

By Kate Forgach – McClatchy Tribune – February 7,  2010

ORLANDO, Fla. – Feb. 9, 2010 – Selling a property in this tough market can seem like a challenge. Here are four factors that actually make this a good time to post a For-Sale sign:

• Sell low and buy low. Because all property values are down, the loss on the property a homeowner sells is really only a paper loss because the next property he buys also will be a bargain. If he buys smartly, when prices come back up in a few years, he’ll be in better shape.

• Downpayment help is widely available. While nothing-down loans have disappeared, it’s easy to find downpayment assistance for lower-income and first-time homebuyers. Programs vary all over the country, but one good way to find them is to search online for “downpayment assistance programs” and the name of your region.

• Your Uncle Sam has money to share. Besides the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit and the $6,500 move-up credit, there are an array of energy tax credits that can make home improvements pay off in cash.

• Good help is available. Really talented real estate practitioners, contractors and designers are available and eager for business.

4 reasons to sell now
ORLANDO, Fla. – Feb. 9, 2010 – Selling a property in this tough market can seem like a challenge. Here are four factors that actually make this a good time to post a For-Sale sign:
• Sell low and buy low. Because all property values are down, the loss on the property a homeowner sells is really only a paper loss because the next property he buys also will be a bargain. If he buys smartly, when prices come back up in a few years, he’ll be in better shape.
• Downpayment help is widely available. While nothing-down loans have disappeared, it’s easy to find downpayment assistance for lower-income and first-time homebuyers. Programs vary all over the country, but one good way to find them is to search online for “downpayment assistance programs” and the name of your region.
• Your Uncle Sam has money to share. Besides the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit and the $6,500 move-up credit, there are an array of energy tax credits that can make home improvements pay off in cash.
• Good help is available. Really talented real estate practitioners, contractors and designers are available and eager for business.
Source: McClatchy Tribune, Kate Forgach (02/07/20104 reasons to sell now
ORLANDO, Fla. – Feb. 9, 2010 – Selling a property in this tough market can seem like a challenge. Here are four factors that actually make this a good time to post a For-Sale sign:
• Sell low and buy low. Because all property values are down, the loss on the property a homeowner sells is really only a paper loss because the next property he buys also will be a bargain. If he buys smartly, when prices come back up in a few years, he’ll be in better shape.
• Downpayment help is widely available. While nothing-down loans have disappeared, it’s easy to find downpayment assistance for lower-income and first-time homebuyers. Programs vary all over the country, but one good way to find them is to search online for “downpayment assistance programs” and the name of your region.
• Your Uncle Sam has money to share. Besides the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit and the $6,500 move-up credit, there are an array of energy tax credits that can make home improvements pay off in cash.
• Good help is available. Really talented real estate practitioners, contractors and designers are available and eager for business.
Source: McClatchy Tribune, Kate Forgach (02/07/2010)

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10 Inexpensive Way To Wow Buyers

Here are 10 cheap ways to make a property more attractive to shoppers:

1) Improve first impressions. Touch up the paint on the front door and other areas that buyers see first.

2) Clean up the landscaping. Trim the hedges and trees and plant some annuals in the flowerbeds.

3) Paint the interior. A coat of light yellow or cream with contrasting white woodwork looks fresh and clean.

4) Refurbish the floors. Buff the hardwoods. Install new carpets – or at least get them professionally cleaned.

5) Take care of the big problems. If the house needs a roof or the front stoop is crumbling, get them fixed.

6) Buy warranties. Putting appliances under warranty gives homebuyers a secure feeling.

7) Improve energy efficiency. New windows or improved insulation tells a potential buyer the seller is on top of things plus they come with tax benefits.

8) Replace light fixtures. Updated fixtures, especially at the entrance way and in the foyer, create a good first impression.

9) Buy a stove. Home owners whose kitchen isn’t top of the line can jazz it up for a few hundred dollars by buying a new stove, which gives the room a fresh feel.

10) Tidy up the bathrooms. Get rid of mildew, replace caulking, and replace stained sinks.

Here are 10 cheap ways to make a property more attractive to shoppers:
Improve first impressions. Touch up the paint on the front door and other areas that buyers see first.
Clean up the landscaping. Trim the hedges and trees and plant some annuals in the flowerbeds.
Paint the interior. A coat of light yellow or cream with contrasting white woodwork looks fresh and clean.
Refurbish the floors. Buff the hardwoods. Install new carpets – or at least get them professionally cleaned.
Take care of the big problems. If the house needs a roof or the front stoop is crumbling, get them fixed.
Buy warranties. Putting appliances under warranty gives homebuyers a secure feeling.
Improve energy efficiency. New windows or improved insulation tells a potential buyer the seller is on top of things plus they come with tax benefits.
Replace light fixtures. Updated fixtures, especially at the entrance way and in the foyer, create a good first impression.
Buy a stove. Home owners whose kitchen isn’t top of the line can jazz it up for a few hundred dollars by buying a new stove, which gives the room a fresh feel.
Tidy up the bathrooms. Get rid of mildew, replace caulking, and replace stained sinks.

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10 Features Homebuyers Want

LAS VEGAS – Feb. 2, 2010 – Home designers and builders speaking at the recent International Builders Show in Las Vegas say that buyers are seeking cost-effective features and rejecting things that don’t have lasting value.

“It’s all about family togetherness – casual living, entertaining and flexible spaces,” says Carol Lavender, president of the Lavender Design Group in San Antonio.

Paul Cardis, CEO of Avid Ratings, which conducts an annual survey of buyer preferences, identified these must-haves in new homes:

• Large kitchens with islands

• Energy efficiency, including energy-efficient appliances, super insulation, and high-efficiency windows

• Home offices

Custom Kitchen Island

Custom Kitchen Island

• Main-floor master suite

• Outdoor living space

• Ceiling fans

• Soaking tub in the master suite and/or an oversize shower with a seating area

• Stone and brick exteriors rather than stucco or vinyl

• Community walking paths and playgrounds

• Two-car garages, but three-car garages are even more desirable

LAS VEGAS – Feb. 2, 2010 – Home designers and builders speaking at the recent International Builders Show in Las Vegas say that buyers are seeking cost-effective features and rejecting things that don’t have lasting value.
“It’s all about family togetherness – casual living, entertaining and flexible spaces,” says Carol Lavender, president of the Lavender Design Group in San Antonio.
Paul Cardis, CEO of Avid Ratings, which conducts an annual survey of buyer preferences, identified these must-haves in new homes:
• Large kitchens with islands
• Energy efficiency, including energy-efficient appliances, super insulation, and high-efficiency windows
• Home offices
• Main-floor master suite
• Outdoor living space
• Ceiling fans
• Soaking tub in the master suite and/or an oversize shower with a seating area
• Stone and brick exteriors rather than stucco or vinyl
• Community walking paths and playgrounds
• Two-car garages, but three-car garages are even more LAS VEGAS – Feb. 2, 2010 – Home designers and builders speaking at the recent International Builders Show in Las Vegas say that buyers are seeking cost-effective features and rejecting things that don’t have lasting value.
“It’s all about family togetherness – casual living, entertaining and flexible spaces,” says Carol Lavender, president of the Lavender Design Group in San Antonio.
Paul Cardis, CEO of Avid Ratings, which conducts an annual survey of buyer preferences, identified these must-haves in new homes:
• Large kitchens with islands
• Energy efficiency, including energy-efficient appliances, super insulation, and high-efficiency windows
• Home offices
• Main-floor master suite
• Outdoor living space
• Ceiling fans
• Soaking tub in the master suite and/or an oversize shower with a seating area
• Stone and brick exteriors rather than stucco or vinyl
• Community walking paths and playgrounds
• Two-car garages, but three-car garages are even more desirable

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12 Reasons to Choose Bark & Company Realty Today

We believe our relationship with our valued clients is one of the most important elements of a successful real estate organization.

We also believe your perception and opinion of our service and professionalism play a critical role in our future growth.  Therefore, these are our promises to you:

1) We will provide a thorough market analysis (CMA) which pinpoints the optimum price for your property.

2) We will provide a comprehensive marketing plan which maximizes your exposure to the audience best suited to buy your property.

3) Our relationship will be built on a solid foundation of trust and respect.  We will never give you cause to question our integrity.

4) We will review all offers with you and allow you to make the decision you feel most comfortable with.

5) We will earn your business.  If you are ever unhappy with our performance, we will release the listing with no cost to you.

6) You will not pay for anything up front or along the way.  We only earn our commission if an offer is acceptable to you and it closes.

7) We will strive to get you the highest price for your property with a commission that is fair.

8) We publish a monthly newsletter targeted to an affluent audience capable of purchasing your island property.

9) Our highly-visible office is conveniently located in the heart of Anna Maria Island.

10) Our web site generated over 13,839 page views and 1,700 unique visitors in December 2009 creating additional worldwide exposure for your property.

11) Your listing gains additional exposure by being featured on real estate websites throughout the world (realtor.com, zillow.com, homegain.com, homefinder.com, trulia.com, etc.),

12) We want to make sure you are completely satisfied with our services because we want you to recommend us to your friends and relatives.  Our goal is to fulfill your real estate needs for a lifetime, not just one transaction


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