Real Estate Information Archive


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Turn Your Home Into A Rental Property, part two

by Lisa Castanet

You are thinking about the possibility to turn your home into a rental property.  We have mentioned previously that current local market conditions are improving and that values in our area are also increasing.

I would recommend that you should be current on your mortgage payments, property taxes, home owners insurance and home owners association dues, if applicable.  Then the following questions can be asked when you talk with potential property mangers:

  • Ask the company to outline how they market their rental properties.
  • Have them describe the screening process for potential tenants.
  • Ask them to explain their management terms and fees, discuss any contracts or forms used.
  • What kind of accounting system do they use for their rental escrow account?
  • Will they share with you exactly what makes their company outstanding?
  • Does the management company view their properties on a regular schedule?
  • Is there an initial walk through with tenants prior to move-in day or final inspection prior to the tenant moving out?
  • Do they employ a full-time maintenance coordinator and how does the maintenance process work?
  • How many properties do they manage and how big is their staff to manage these properties?
  • Can they provide customer testimonials?
  • Are they a member of any trade organizations?

A little up front investigation and homework can help you turn your home into a rental property. Then your family can rest assured and continue with your life’s plan. For more information, please feel free to call our office and speak to one of our agents today at 863-647-1679. 


Turn Your Home Into A Rental Property

by Lisa Castanet

Have you wondered if you should turn your home into a rental property?  The Lakeland market has been inundated with short sales and bank owned (REO) properties since 2007.  Some owners have felt their choices were limited due to these depressed market conditions.  However, in 2013, a large number of investors have been purchasing homes as rental properties.  If you want to move on, transfer jobs or need more space then I suggest you too can turn your home into a rental property.

 I think you can hold onto your home another 3 to 5 years before selling it and the market conditions will continue to improve. That would allow you to move on and continue to live your LIFE!  You can expand or downsize your home according to your family’s needs and move within town or even relocate for change in employment. Lakeland may have been hit by the “bust” but we have fared better than other parts of the State and our real estate market is showing signs of recovery.

If you have never owned rental property it can be very confusing and quite time consuming.  Property managers must know the Florida Landlord/Tenant Act. The law is cumbersome and the State requires the Landlord to handle issues regarding security deposits, maintenance and evictions in a very specific manner. Many property owners may not be aware of their obligations regarding tenant relations.

Property Management is a specialty within the real estate community that requires expertise and knowledge of legal requirements.  A property that is managed properly can turn a home into a good real estate investment for the owner. The old adage still remains true, real estate ownership is a key factor in building real wealth in your lifetime. Our market conditions are improving and should continue over the next few years. Follow the trend of the large investment firms that are purchasing homes as rentals in the central Florida market.  They have purchased thousands of homes as rental properties in the I-4 corridor.  In fact, a friend in Pensacola sent a recent article from their local newspaper that list Lakeland as one of the hottest markets for investors this year.

Stay tuned for part two of this blog post "Turn Your Home Into A Rental Property" later this week.  We are here to help with all your real estate needs so call our office 863-647-1679.

It is a crazy time in real estate today

by Lisa Castanet

It is a crazy time in real estate today.  This week I received calls from two different asset management companies. They are in the process of bidding on large portfolios of under performing loans.  Each company needed a “ broker’s price opinion” (BPO) which is a determination of value on the property.  I do these types of reports for many banks and asset management firms. They needed a local professional who is familiar with the local market.  This valuation report will help them decide what amount to bid on the portfolio.  If they win the bid and purchase the portfolio then I would be hired as the real estate broker to list, market and sell these bank-owned homes.

I am working with another asset management company specializing in rental property portfolios.  The company is waiting to hear from their client; the investor that owns the bulk portfolio. The investor will decide whether or not they will rehab each home and have us handle the property management or whether they will have us list the homes for sale.  The decision will be based, in part, on our BPO and the repair bid estimates obtained by general contractors.

I mentioned in an earlier blog post that there are several hedge fund entities that are gobbling up properties in central Florida markets.  Local buyers trying to purchase residential property have to compete with these corporations who have deep pockets of cash.

Yes, it is a crazy time in real estate today.  The market is swiftly changing from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market because of such low inventory of available homes.  Potential home buyers and home sellers really need professional advice and guidance in such a market.   

When choosing a Realtor to represent you in a real estate transaction today you need to do your homework.  There is a wide variety of transactions in today’s market.  There are “traditional” or “fair-market” transactions, “short sale” transactions, “ REO” (bank-owned) transactions and property management.  A transaction can even begin as one type of sale and wind up as another type in certain circumstances.  Potential home buyers and home sellers need to understand how the various types of transactions can affect a purchase or sale of a property. 

There are many good people who are licensed and want to help a friend, neighbor or family member.  I understand the generous heart that wants to help someone.  However, perhaps the best help is to refer them to a full-time agent active in the current market and knowledgeable about these transaction types.

We welcome buyers, sellers and other agents to contact us with questions about your real estate needs. Our office is open Monday to Friday 8:30am  to 5:00pm  and our agents are available weeknights and weekends.  It is a crazy time in real estate today but our doors are open wide and our hearts and experience are here for you. 

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Extend the HAMP Program

by Lisa Castanet

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been directed by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to extend two programs known as the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and the streamlined modification initiative.  These programs are now extended and available through 2015.

Both programs are aimed at helping homeowners struggling to keep their loans current by offering two options for loan modification as prevention for foreclosure.  The streamlined modification offers borrowers who are at least 90 days delinquent on their mortgage payments an alternative path to avoid foreclosure and lower their monthly payment without requiring hardship or financial documentation.

In addition, the U.S. Treasury and the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development also announced they will be extending the HAMP program for mortgages that are not backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

This is good news for homeowners that continue to struggle making their payments or perhaps have just recently found themselves in financial circumstance which may cause them to miss payments.

For more information on the HAMP programs and to evaluate your options you should speak to your current mortgage servicer.  Homeowners trying to list and sell their home as a short sale may be required by their lender to explore the HAMP options prior to approving them for the short sale.  Feel free to call us regarding listing your home as a short sale, we are here to help.

Consumer Confidence

by Lisa Castanet

I keep reading reports and stories that consumer confidence is on the rise.  Real estate articles are also suggesting that there is an uptick in activity throughout the nation and prices are rising quickly in several markets.  Agents are reporting to their associations and industry news outlets that volume and transaction dollar amounts are on the rise. Interest rates are still at historical lows although some of our lenders have said interest rates increased slightly this week.

I am curious as to whether or not the buyers in our local area feel confident and positive about the real estate market today.  I wonder if home buyers are reading the same reports or hearing this type of news and whether or not it is influencing their feelings about making a decision.  If you are looking to purchase a home today or in the near future do you feel a sense of urgency or frustration due to the lack of available inventory?  Do you think you have missed out on good opportunities to purchase a home due to the amount of competition?

As a home seller, are you feeling better about the market value of your home?  I wonder how many home owners have waited to put their house on the market for sale in past few years due to declining values.  Perhaps now is the time to reconsider if the inventory is extremely low and the values have stabilized.  Our local market values will most likely not regain the incredible losses experienced from 2007 to 2011.  If your home value is greater than the mortgage on your home then you are in great shape.  However, if you owe more then your home is worth now may be the right time to list your home for sale as a short sale and move on with your life.  We can help you determine if you may qualify for a short sale on your home.  A short sale is less destructive to your credit score than a foreclosure.  Home sellers can get top dollar in this market since the inventory of available homes for sale is so low.

Whether you are a home buyer or a home seller this is quite a volatile time in the real estate market and you need a professional working on your behalf.  Today’s market conditions and fast paced changes in direction require a full-time dedicated professional.  We are here to help you buy or sell your home.  Give us a call today!

Central Florida Short Sales

by Lisa Castanet

Native Palm Properties' team has successfully listed and sold short sales for owners throughout Central Florida.  We have worked with home owners that owned homes in Lakeland, Mulberry, Lutz, Auburndale, Plant City, Winter Haven and Sebring on short sale transactions.  If you need a knowledgeable team to help answer your questions about how to sell your home and if you may qualify for an approved short sale we are here to help guide you through the process. The first place to start is to find out the current market value of your home. Please visit our Lakeland Home Values website for a confidential, no obligation market analysis or call our office to schedule a confidential appointment at 863-647-1679.

Displaying blog entries 1-6 of 6

Contact Information

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Native Palm Team
Native Palm Properties
5925 Imperial Pkwy, Suite #111
Mulberry FL 33860
Fax: (863)701-8309