Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-6 of 6

Air Conditioning Tips

by Lisa Castanet

We are in the midst of summer and I thought you may benefit from some air conditioning tips for your home.  Our friends at Randolph's A/C and Heating have some helpful information on their website which we have linked to for your convenience.

Randolph's A/C is one of the air conditioning vendors we use for our rental properties and we have had a lot of success with them over the years.  They are responsive, friendly and professional.  We have had many customers, tenants and owners alike that have complimented them on their work.

I have an annual service check up on my own home's air conditioning system every year.  That is recommended by most air conditioning service vendors and it is great for preventative maintenance and helping your unit run efficiently year after year.  It may also benefit you by helping your air conditioning unit last longer than it would without yearly maintenance.

One of the helpful air conditioning tips you can find on the Randolph's A/C and Heating website is to simply clean or replace your filters every month.  Sounds simply enough but some folks never change or replace the air filters or they may not even know where the air filter is located on their system.  It has been a very hot summer thus far and we hope your air conditioner keeps you cool.  For additional helpful air conditioning tips, visit their website here.

Netsheet Calulator

by Lisa Castanet

We work with several closing companies but wanted to thank our friends at North American Title Company.  They have come up with a new, very cool tool called a Netsheet Calculator.  It is a simple form that we can use to help sellers calculate what the net proceeds will be from the sale on their home.  Similar to the HUD-1 settlement statement, it shows a breakdown of expenses related to the sales transaction.

When we have a listing appointment we can pre-fill the Netsheet Calculator worksheet and bring a copy with us for the seller to review.  Initially, we can use the listing price to complete the worksheet and then when we obtain a contract offer we can use the Netsheet Calculator to show the seller financial data in order for them to evaluate the offer and make a decision to accept, counter or reject the buyer's contract offer.

For buyers, we can use the Netsheet Calculator to figure what they may have to bring to the closing table in the way of money on the day of closing.  This will give the buyer a chance to prepare and they don't have to wait until the last minute.  Of course, the information is an estimate but still very valuable in making preparations for the closing day.

North American Title Company is always helpful and we appreciate this new tool.  Thanks for the Netsheet Calculator!  Another way we can offer outstanding service for our clients, both buyers and sellers.

If you would like us to help you on listing, marketing and selling of your home, just give us a call today!

Interviewing your agent, part 2

by Lisa Castanet

 Following our last blog post, we continue the theme in interviewing your agent, part 2:

6. What do you enjoy most or least about your job as a real estate agent?

This is an interesting question that I think agents could stop and ask themselves on occasion.

7. Do you work alone or as a team? 

Depending on the agent’s work load and your expectations related to interaction, contact and communication it is important to determine if you preferred a single agent or a team of agents working on your behalf.

8. Will you personally handle contract negotiations?

This also begs a follow up question relating to negotiation strategy or evaluating a multiple offer situation.

9. Has anyone ever filed a complaint against you?

I have served on our association of Realtors’ Professional Standards Committee since 2008.  This question would be a great one to ask an agent you are considering working with. A member of the general public or another Realtor member of an association can file a complaint against a Realtor if they think a Realtor has violated the Realtor Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. There is a specific complaint process and a filing fee. A complaint that is filed is first heard by the Grievance Committee who decides if they think the complaint indicates that the Realtor member may have violated one of the Articles of the Code. This is similar to a Grand Jury in our court system. The case is then passed to the Professional Standards Committee. The hearing panel reviews the complaint and the evidence presented by either party. They hear testimony from both the complainant and defendant and any witnesses who may testify on their behalf. It is the Professional Standard Committee’s job to enforce the Realtor Code of Ethics.

10. What is your real estate commission and how is it split with other agents?

Real estate is a unique industry in that brokerage companies offer to work together and split commissions between different companies in the sale of real estate.  Can you imagine Coke and Pepsi working together and sharing income between the two entities?

11. How long have you been with your current broker?

This industry certainly has an ebb and flow to it. Some agents have been with the same brokerage company for years. Other agents have "hung" their license with a few different agencies over the years they have been licensed to practice. Lakeland had a few brokerage companies come into the area between 2002 and 2006 that charged minimal commission to homeowners for listing and selling their property known as “discount brokers”. Then in 2007 this type of brokerage business model seemed to disappear and in recent years, the real estate industry (in general) and Lakeland area (specifically) experienced another trend. Real estate companies located out of our market area started recruiting local agents to hang their license with their firm and work from the agent’s home in a type of “virtual office” environment. The broker, who is responsible for an agent, is also located somewhere else in the state. Some customers might prefer a local real estate company with their broker on-site and a physical office location. Another customer may feel comfortable with an agent working from their home in a virtual office situation. This is a good question to ask. You can then decide which type of real estate brokerage office set-up is best for your needs and with which type of office you feel most comfortable.

We hope these questions spark a new curiosity and perhaps appreciation for the real estate industry and the professionals who practice the business of selling property.

Interviewing your agent

by Lisa Castanet

I read an interesting article the other day on Real Estate Concierge Services’ website.  The article suggested questions for consumers to ask when interviewing an agent for listing a home or when choosing an agent as a buyer's representative in a real estate transaction.

The following list contains some of the questions the article suggested:

  1. When did you obtain your real estate license?

I can understand the importance of this question as it may indicate that the more experience an agent has then the better they can serve you as their client.

  1. What types of technology do you use in your business?

This is a good question because technology plays such an important role in real estate today.However, do not discount the value of personal interactions and relationships an agent may have built with peers in the industry over the years.

  1. What is your preferred method of communication?

Wow, this is very important because everyone has their own idea or habits when it comes to venues of communication.Email may work best between some folks while a direct phone call may be better in another agent-client relationship.

  1. Can you refer reputable mortgage lenders, home inspectors and closing attorneys or agents? 

It is important to know if your agent has long lasting relationships with other industry professionals. I would also suggest that the level of expertise your agent has with, for instance, loan financing and the closing process is also of great value.

  1. Is real estate your full-time career?

I have touched on this one in previous blog posts.The market environment and changes that have occurred since 2007 in real estate really demand full time focus. However, there are some agents with many years of experience that have decided to take on fewer clients and may work less than full time hours. Their market experience is still an asset to you.


More questions and food for thought on interviewing your agent to follow…..

Lakeland Market Statistics

by Lisa Castanet

I was just checking the Lakeland market statistics to see the data for 2013.  It appears we are still trending upward with regard to the sales volume and number of closed transactions every month in 2013 versus last year.  The latest month reported is May 2013 which showed an 11.36% increase in sales volume over 2012.  However, while May sales of single family homes were 245 it is down 4.67% from the April 2013 number.

2013 year to date figures shows the total number of sold units is 1,297 with an average sales price of $119,930 and average number of days on market at 95 days.

The Lakeland market statistics dating back to 2009 show s that inventory levels reached a high in 2009 of 13.8 month supply. Inventory levels in 2010 started at a 14.7 month supply in January and although decreased during the spring the supply level was back up to 14.7 month supply by November.  In 2011 we began to see inventory decrease and the year ended with a 9 month supply.  Then in 2012 inventory began to dramatically decrease as the investor traffic flooded our market and we ended the year at a 5.5 month supply.  Our current inventory supply for 2013 represents the lowest level in over six years for the Lakeland market statistics.

Where we shall be in December 2013 no one knows but we think the investors who have gobbled up homes all over central Florida will begin to leave the market as home prices continue to rise.  This trend has already begun in states like California and Arizona according to the HouseingPulse tracking survey. In the past several years we have seen that Florida is usually not far behind the west coast trend.

Call Sunshine 811

by Lisa Castanet

If you plan on digging your yard for any reason then it is advised you call Sunshine 811 or go to their website for helpful information.  A homeowner can make one phone call to Sunshine 811 or (800) 432-4770 to request that the utility companies come and mark the lines in your yard so that you mitigate the possibility of hitting those lines when digging and the risk of losing service if you hit a line while digging in your yard.

It is one simple step and easy to schedule.  The customer service rep for Sunshine 811 will ask you a serious of questions including your contact information and you will be notified by email by each utility company that they have received that request.  You can also track each request online through their website.  There is no cost to the homeowner and utility companies encourage you to call in for such requests prior to digging in your yard.

Hope this is helpful information whether your home improvement project is big or small please call before you dig to Sunshine 811.

Displaying blog entries 1-6 of 6

Contact Information

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