Is the Real Estate Sky Falling?! Economist Weighs In…


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People often wonder if the “bubble” is going to burst, making home prices tumble. 

Sellers worry because it could mean one of (if not the) biggest asset they own could take a beating. Buyers on the other hand hope for some glimmer of deals on the horizon, and maybe a little less competition in the market. 

Well, according to a recent article from Yahoo, home prices will drop in the near future and “cause some pain.”

At face value, that sounds like good news for buyers, and painful news for sellers. But let’s unpack what’s being said in that article a little bit more thoroughly. Economist Robert Shiller is cited in the article saying:

  • Prices will eventually drop, and that “They’ll come back down, not overnight, but enough to cause some pain.” (Key words being “eventually” and “some”.)
  • He also stated that there’s no clear explanation for the “hot” market, but “expects it to continue for another year or two.”
  • Lastly, he said that the current market is different from the crisis that caused the last bubble: “So it’s not the same as 2003. It could be stronger. I think we have better protections, we have better supervision of lenders. So I don’t know if we should be worried about 2007, 2008, 2009 happening again.”

In a nutshell, he’s saying prices will eventually come down, but not for a while, and maybe not all that much. 

So, how does this affect you, and what should you do?! 

  • If you’re a homeowner who wants to sell your home and cash in on your equity for good (i.e. move in with family, to a retirement home, assisted living, or rent), you might want to consider selling in the next year or so, before a dip in prices may occur.
  • If you’re a homeowner and have no plans on moving in the near future, say 5-7 years, none of this matters really. Historically, prices go down and then back up and ultimately higher than before. So, no worries.
  • If you’re a buyer thinking about waiting for prices to drop, you may want to re-evaluate that approach. Rates are still historically low, and prices may not drop for another couple of years. And, when they do drop, who’s to say they won’t drop below the prices you’re seeing now? They could just drop to levels we haven’t even reached yet, but will see in 2022 or 2023.
  • Let’s get started NOW! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479

Many First-Time Home Buyers Are Overlooking a Competitive Edge in 2022


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Buying a house was challenging for many buyers in 2021, but especially for first-time buyers. Competition and prices were high, and inventory was low, and while some predictions suggest things will loosen up a bit in 2022, buyers will still need to have an aggressive strategy heading into the new year.

According to this REALTOR Magazine article, first-time buyers are optimistic about their chances in 2022, and many are changing their strategies to increase their odds of success.
The most notable changes in strategy were:

  • Making an offer within 48 hours of seeing a home
  • Offering above asking price
  • Being willing to compete in bidding wars
  • Going over their budget
  • Making offers on houses without even seeing them first

Making offers quickly, being willing to go above asking and compete in bidding wars are all advisable strategies in this market. 

Going over budget on the other hand…well, that depends. If “going over budget” means still within their comfortable financial means, sure! If not, it’s a recipe for future struggle and financial trouble. 

And making offers on houses without seeing them in person first isn’t the worst thing to do given technology, but it isn’t ideal. 

What wasn’t on the list, and would likely make the biggest impact for first-time buyers, was to choose and work with a great real estate agent. Working with a trusted buyers’ agent can enhance any of the above strategies, if not make them unnecessary. Their awareness of the market, perspective, advice, connections, and negotiation skills can often give first-time buyers an edge, yet many first-time buyers don’t put a lot of emphasis on choosing and working with one. 

So, if you’re a first-time buyer looking to edge out competition in 2022, by all means be prepared to do everything on the list other buyers are planning on. But, to truly tip the scales in your favor, make sure you’re teaming up with a buyers’ agent you connect well with and trust.

Need an experienced buyer agent? Give us a call – Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479

Buyers Who Waited for Lower Prices? Many Regret It

Source: Buyers Who Waited for Lower Prices? Many Regret It

Some buyers postponed searches, assuming prices would drop as they did in the last recession. But now homes they once considered are financially out of reach.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – As South Florida home prices spiked during the pandemic, some people decided to put their home shopping on pause in the hopes that prices might drop, a decision they are coming to regret.

Now, a year-and-a-half into record price growth and dwindling inventory, non-buyers are stuck in a precarious situation: they want to buy, but are facing higher prices than they did when they first started searching, and they’re finding themselves at risk of being priced out of the South Florida real estate market.

“They feel like they made a mistake at some point and they feel like they can’t catch up because the market is so far ahead of them that they can’t get back in,” said Alicia Cervera of Cervera Real Estate in Miami.

Allie Sinbine and her husband, Steve, were among those who decided to try and wait out the real estate market after they started looking at homes in June of 2020. They put their search on pause a month after shopping, thinking it was likely that homes prices would start to lower towards the end of the year.

“We assumed that with the New Year and the election ending, we would start to see things level out and they would come back down to where they were,” she said.

Instead, home prices just kept rising, further pushing the couple out of the housing market. They are looking for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in the $250,000-$300,000 range, but as prices have continued to climb, they’ve expand their search beyond Palm Beach County, farther north to Port St. Lucie. They’re exploring new construction homes and considering that they may have to up their budget at little bit.

“We never anticipated that it would be almost 2022, and there is still nothing for us to move into that is affordable,” Sinbine said.

Homes prices jumped, no slowdown in sight

Homes prices skyrocketed in South Florida during the pandemic, as intense demand from out of state buyers dovetailed with historically low inventory to create an intense seller’s market where buyers were often faced with paying over asking price and losing out in bidding wars.

In a market where it’s common for buyers to lose out and face multiple bidding wars, it can cause home shoppers to get discouraged and more hesitant to buy, explained Brian Pearl, principal agent with the Pearl Antonacci Group in Boca Raton. “I’ve had buyers regret waiting more recently, given that the market hasn’t slowed down like they thought it would by now,” he added.

He’s not the only Realtor to have clients face this issue. Jeff Creegan with Re/MAX Services in Boca Raton said about 30-40% of his clients in the last year end up trying to wait out the housing market. Many were wary of buying in the spring or even last summer as they watched prices skyrocket, only to see them rise even more as the year comes to a close. The overall sentiment, he said, is that they made a mistake in trying to wait out the market.

Now, as they begin to look again, buyers say they are greeted with homes that are $100,000 more expensive.

As a result, Creegan said, “They are looking in different markets, like in Southwest Florida or more affordable markets.”

He himself was looking at a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house in January, listed at around $410,000. He decided to wait, but when he went back to the house in April, it was priced at $480,000. He was able to get it for $450,000.

In February of 2021, the median sale price of a home in Miami Dade County was $450,000, a 21% increase from the year before, according to numbers from the Broward, Palm Beach and St. Lucie Relators. For Broward County, the median sale price of a home was $433,000, a 12% increase from the year before. For Palm Beach County, the median sale price of a home was $450,000, a 24% increase from the year prior.

Flash forward to October of 2021, when median sale prices rose 19% from the year before in Palm Beach County to $500,000 in October. For Broward County, the median sale price of a home was $489,000 in October, a 17.8% annual increase. In Miami Dade County, the numbers shot up 12.6% to $490,000 for October.

“I’ve had buyers come in and ask me ‘with these high prices, do you think we should sit back and wait?’ I always tell them that no one can predict what is coming or if the prices are going to come down,” Christina Tokar, real estate agent with Re/MAX Advantage Realty in Davie.

Jeannie Schwartz is another shopper who decided to put her search on pause in hopes that the market would stabilize.

“I’m kicking myself,” she said. She started looking in January for a home within her budget of $300,000-350,000, but discovered that the properties were below the quality she was hoping for. Almost a year later, the same neighborhoods where she was once looking had prices jump up almost $100,000.

“I got priced out of buying,” she added. “I really should have bought something because now properties are worth so much more. I feel like I am going to have to leave Florida.”

She added that that she also feared purchasing a home when the market was at its peak, in case there was a crash later.

The housing crash of 2007 is likely still fresh in a lot of potential buyers’ mind, noted Eli Beracha, director of the Hollo School of Real Estate at Florida International University, and is potentially one of the reasons that they are trying to wait out the housing market.

Beracha also noted, however, that the forces fueling this housing market are different. “We had an excess of supply last time [in 2007]; we don’t have that this time. If you don’t have excess supply, it’s hard for the market to correct in a significant way.” In other words, he does not see a dramatic bust in our future.

Out-of-state home shopper Dr. Ketang Modi, his wife and two daughters are making the move from New Jersey to Broward County, and are looking for a home that is around 4,500 square feet with a minimum of four bedrooms.

When they searched previously, they looked at homes in a community in Davie that were priced around $1.2 million, and now, four months later, prices are hitting $1.6 million, prompting him and his family to consider renting to wait out the market.

“Everything is overpriced,” he lamented. “I’m not sure when there will be a correction or when prices will stabilize.”

© 2021 South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

The Top Reasons To Sell Your Home During The Holidays


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Between holiday travel, holiday parties, and hosting out-of-town guests, the holidays can be a busy time of year. And if you’re selling your home, you might be tempted to take your property off the market and push your home sale into the new year.

But, as it turns out, you might want to rethink that strategy.

An article from outlined the top reasons not to take your home off the market during the holiday season, including:

  • It’s easier for your listing to get attention. Because the holidays are so busy, a lot of sellers pull their homes off the market and would-be sellers hold off on listing their home—both of which reduce available inventory. Less inventory means less competition, which will make it easier for your home to get attention and interest from buyers who can’t wait weeks or months to make offers and move forward with a purchase.
  • The buyers are more serious. Most people don’t want to add “buying a home” to the list of their holiday to-do’s. But that means that the buyers that are out there looking for homes are serious, motivated, and ready to purchase a home ASAP—a major plus for sellers.
  • Lenders are more motivated to close the deal. Because fewer homes are being bought and sold during the holiday season, lenders are more motivated to close transactions—which can make the process both easier and faster.

Bottom line? You might think the holidays aren’t the best time to sell a home—but if you’ve been thinking about selling your home, it turns out this is a great time to make a move.

Happy Holidays! Please call on us to help you sell during this holiday season! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479

Have a Small Room? Make Your Space Feel Larger by Avoiding These Mistakes


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Photo by Blue Bird on

If you want a small room to feel more spacious, there are certain design tricks you want to embrace—and certain design tricks you want to avoid.

recent article from outlined common mistakes that can make rooms feel smaller, including:

  • Dark walls. Dark colors draw the eye inward—which can make a space seem smaller. So, while dark walls can work in a large, open room, if your room is on the smaller side, you’ll want to stick to neutral or light colors for the walls to create the illusion of more space.
  • Too much furniture. Packing too many pieces of furniture into a room can make it feel small, cramped, and crowded. If you’re working with a small space—and want to make it feel larger—stick to a few key, functional pieces (and make sure there’s plenty of space for people to maneuver around each piece of furniture).
  • Too many colors or patterns. Incorporating too many colors and patterns into a room can feel visually overwhelming—and can make a small space feel even smaller. If you’re going to use bold colors or patterns, use them sparingly—and balance them out with an otherwise neutral, soothing palette.

The Takeaway:

So, what does this mean for you? If you’re trying to make a small room look larger, it’s important to understand what design mistakes to steer clear of. That way, you can decorate your room in a way that maximizes the space—and makes your small room look larger, more open, and more spacious.

Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479

Can’t Afford a Home? Co-buying Skyrockets


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OCTOBER 13, 2021

More roommates are committing to long-term relationships and co-buying a home. ATTOM says the number of co-buyers with different last names surged 771% in six years.

SAN FRANCISCO – Millennials are pooling finances with roommates, friends and significant others to buy a home together.

The number of home and condo sales by co-buyers is increasing, according to research from ATTOM Data Solutions. The number of co-buyers with different last names surged by a whopping 771% between 2014 and 2021.

The trend especially took off during the pandemic. From April to June 2020, 11% of buyers purchased as an unmarried couple and 3% as “other” (e.g., roommates), according to data from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). That’s up from 9% and 2%, respectively, in 2019.

“During the pandemic, people have been renting and they may have wanted more space, and so they looked at, perhaps, their roommate and decided, ‘Let’s go buy a home together,” Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights for NAR, told The Wall Street Journal.

But affording a home isn’t easy for a first-time buyer. The median existing-home price for all housing types was $356,700 in August, up nearly 15% from a year earlier.

Besides the higher costs to buy, student loan debt increasingly burdens young adults, hampering their ability to afford a home. Half of the potential homebuyers surveyed this year say they haven’t bought yet because of student debt, according to a report by NAR and Morning Consult. Millennials are the most likely to point to student debt as a top reason for delaying homeownership.

Those with student loan debt are still finding ways to buy, though. In addition to co-buying, for example, they may apply for a mortgage with a co-signer such as a family member to help improve their credit status.

Source: “Millennials Team Up to Fulfill the Dream of Homeownership,” The Wall Street Journal (Oct. 11, 2021) [Log-in required.]

© Copyright 2021 INFORMATION INC., Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

Will Buying a House Affect Your Credit Score?


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http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.comPhoto by RODNAE Productions on

Your decision to buy a home will have a major impact on every area of your finances—including your credit store. But according to a recent study from LendingTree, buying a home has less of an impact on your credit than you’d think.

According to the study, in the four to six months following a mortgage, credit scores, on average, aren’t likely to fall more than 20 points on average. And even if your score does drop more than 20 points, it will typically bounce back to pre-mortgage levels within a year.

The Takeaway:

So, what does this mean for you? If you’re thinking about buying a home—but are feeling a bit nervous about how the mortgage will impact your credit—rest easy. Taking out a mortgage shouldn’t impact your credit too much—and even if you see a drop, your score should bounce back fairly quickly.

Ready to get the ball rolling on financing your home? Get in touch today! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479

Buyers May Face Hidden Costs for Homes with Solar Power


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By Kerry Smith

“Solar-powered home” sounds like a great money-saving deal, but buyers should study possible costs before committing. Not all property insurance companies will cover solar panels, and the ones that do have a wide-ranging set of rules and inconsistent coverage pricing.

ORLANDO, Fla. – According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, solar panel use in Florida jumped 57% in 2020. Beyond a desire to save the planet, increased demand sprang from low interest rates, pandemic-locked homeowners who targeted improvement projects, tax rebates and lower costs for the technology.

As a result, more homebuyers see listings that offer solar power and the promise of long-term savings on their power bills.

However, potential savings could be offset by another higher cost: property insurance rates.

“There’s not a lot of history on solar panels. There’s not a lot of data, so a lot of carriers won’t cover homes with solar,” said Christy Wolfe, sales development manager with Florida Peninsula Insurance and Edison Insurance, to the Insurance Journal. “And when you start drilling holes in a roof, it’s problematic.”

Some Florida insurers say they have enough problems already, thanks to the rising cost of supplies for replacement jobs like roofs, and they fear that their ongoing legal problems could become exacerbated if they’re faced with new lawsuits over solar-panel issues.

Some insurers simply include solar panel coverage under Section A in homeowners’ policies, said B.G. Murphy, director of government affairs for the Florida Association of Insurance Agents. Others add conditions, such as not covering photovoltaic panels damaged by wind or hail. And others offer no solar panel coverage at all.

Florida-owner Citizens Property Insurance will cover some – but not all – solar homes, a spokesperson told the Insurance Journal. The state’s largest private insurer, Universal Property & Casualty, will cover solar panels if a roof is in good condition, according to John Lykins, the Alabama and Florida marketing manager for Universal.

Lykins calls liability “the tricky part.” What if solar-panel electricity injures a utility worker, for example?

Insurers’ solar panel considerations

  • Frontline Insurance won’t cover homes with “net metering,” meaning projects that allow the homeowner to sell excess electricity back to the power grid. That includes almost all solar-powered homes, says Scott Kremkau, a sales representative for Frontline in the Florida Panhandle, unless they only use solar to heat hot water or swimming pools.
  • A home that generates more than 10 kilowatts of power faces a Florida requirement for $1 million in liability coverage. Many insurers won’t do that, and “something we absolutely won’t cover,” Kremkau says.
  • Some local utilities require homeowners to name them in their homeowners policy. Some don’t.
  • Some insurers say that a homeowners’ policy isn’t even legitimate if they sell electricity back to a utility. They claim that makes the home a business. Other insurers disagree, likening that logic to owners who get an insurance discount because they updated their home to withstand hurricane-force winds. Insurers have asked the Florida Public Service Commission for clarification.
  • Insurers also say that property appraisers often don’t factor in solar panels when calculating a home’s value – but for coverage, insurers must consider replacement costs. 

On almost every issue, opinions run hot and cold. However, many Florida insurers, already skittish about current problems they’re facing, choose to err on the side of caution.

Amber Bradford, a We Insure agent/owner in Navarre, Florida, says many Florida insurers require a new roof every 10 years now. If that’s the case, she suggests, get a new roof before having solar panels installed.

She also admits that not all insurance agents are up to speed yet on solar options and the industry’s quick growth. She says it’s led to unneeded liability in some cases and too little insurance in others.

“It is kind of a mess right now,” she told the Insurance Journal.

Source: Insurance Journal, Nov. 1, 2021; William Rabb

© 2021 Florida Realtors®

Poor Landscaping Can Have a Seriously Negative Impact on Property Value


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Photo by Greta Hoffman on

Poor landscaping can make even the best of properties look a bit run-down and rough around the edges. But it turns out that less-than-stellar landscaping can do more than make your home look bad—it can actually impact the value of your property.

recent survey from, which surveyed 1250 licensed real estate agents in the United States, explored the impact of landscaping on property values. Some of the survey’s key findings include:

  • Poor landscaping can drive down property values. According to the survey, a whopping 78 percent of real estate agents said that poor landscaping negatively impacts property values.
  • The impact of poor landscaping on property values is significant. 24 percent of real estate agents estimated that poor landscaping decreases a home’s value by 10 percent. 22 percent estimate that decrease in value to be 20 percent—while 18 percent of real estate agents said that poor landscaping could cause a property’s value to drop by a staggering 30 percent.
  • Grass, trees, and flowers add the most value to a property. Not all landscaping elements are created equal. If you want your landscaping to add value to your home, the real estate agents surveyed recommend focusing on grass (64 percent), trees (59 percent), and flowers (52 percent).

The Takeaway:

So, what does this mean for you? Keeping your property properly landscaped takes time, energy, and resources—but when you look at the way your landscaping can impact your property value, it’s definitely time, energy, and resources well spent.

Need more tips? Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479

Thinking About Updating Your Home? Here Are Some 2021 Design Trends to Consider


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When you redesign your home, you want to design it in a way that feels timely and on-trend.

But what does “timely” and “on-trend” look like in 2021?

The 2021 Houzz Emerging Home Design Trends Report outlined some of the year’s most popular home design trends, including:

  • Dedicated activity spaces. Forget craft closets. One of 2021’s biggest trends is creating an entirely dedicated room or space in the home to house the family’s favorite activity—whether that’s an art studio, a home theater, or a wine cellar.
  • Living room refreshes. Updating their home in general is a priority for many homeowners this year—but the room homeowners seem to be most interested in refreshing? The living room. According to Houzz’s data, searches for living rooms (which can provide homeowners design inspiration) are up 52 percent compared to 2020.
  • Luxury colors and materials. This year, homeowners are embracing luxury in their home design—with velvet, gold, and crystal accents all in high demand.

Let’s discuss some redesign ideas! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team at Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479