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Balancing Grief and Finances When Selling Inherited Property in Florida

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For someone looking to sell inherited property, Florida law, as well as federal law may dictate part of the process, but the real difficulty comes in navigating the probate process while also navigating the grief of losing a loved one.

If you’re looking at selling an inherited home, in this case a Florida property, there are some things to consider for a hassle free sale. To sell property efficiently and with as little emotional distress as possible, it may help to know a little bit about what to expect and where you can find assistance.

Will You Go Through the Probate Process?

courthouse with probate court

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One thing that may be helpful to determine towards the beginning is whether or not you’re likely to need to go to Florida probate court. There are several factors that influence whether a property is held in probate or not, so one of the first things to check has to do with how the real estate was inherited.

inheriting by will

If you inherited property because someone left it to you in their will, you are likely to need to go through the probate process. Provided they are the only person on the deed, all the paperwork should go relatively smoothly.

Even if there are no difficulties with the inherited property in Florida, you may not be able to sell the house for over 4 months.You’d have to wait until the legal title is cleared before selling an inherited home, so despite a smooth probate process, be aware that it can be a significant period of time before it’s legal to sell the house.

inheriting by DEED

If it’s an inherited house in which you are already on the deed, and you are the only remaining person on that deed, you probably don’t need to go through the probate process.

For example, if the deceased person owned the home jointly with their parent or child as co owners, that person should need no more than to file the death certificate in public records to be able to sell the home.

Another case in which someone might be on the deed, even if they’re unrelated to the decedent, could be a “life estate” situation. A life estate is when a person is added to the deed while the homeowner is living under the condition that the homeowner can stay in the home until they pass away.

inheriting by TRUST

If you inherited property by being named in a trust, the need for a probate proceeding depends upon whether or not the deceased person has a spouse or children living.

If not, you can likely either sell the house, if you’re the only person named, or sell it and divide the sales proceeds among the other family members if more than one person is named in the trust.

What is Probate?

question mark on probate process in Florida

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If you are going to need to go to probate, it can be helpful to know what that process involves. Probate is the process of discovering and distributing the deceased’s assets, and it is overseen by a court.

personal representative

If the deceased left behind a will, they likely assigned a “personal representative”. A personal representative is the person in charge of things like notifying heirs of the probate process and identifying, managing, and selling assets. If there is no will, or if a personal representative isn’t named, the probate court will assign an appointed personal representative.

Probate court

Once the probate process nears its end, the personal representative will go before a probate judge, who will approve the probate proceeding. If everything is in order, the judge will sign off on the successful administration of the assets and will allow them to be distributed according to the paperwork.

Tax Implications

inheritance and estate tax

When inheriting a house in Florida, it may be helpful to know that there is no inheritance tax in the state. However, it is still possible you’d wind up paying taxes for other reasons, if you inherit and then sell inherited property.

It’s possible you could pay a federal estate tax, but only if the home is worth more than $12 million. If the inherited property meets that criteria, federal estate tax is only due on the amount over $12 million that the property is worth.

Even if a property does result in federal taxes being charged, the taxes would be paid out of the estate sale and not directly by the seller.

capital gains tax

In Florida, most of the time, inheritors don’t pay income taxes on inherited homes. The value of the house sold is typically not considered eligible for income tax.

However, if the inherited property increases in value, it’s possible that the difference will count for taxable income and that you’d owe capital gains tax on that amount. If the inherited house is worth more when you sell it than it was upon the date of the decedent’s death, you may have to pay capital gains tax on the difference.

Note that the capital gains tax generally comes into play only when the value of the home changes after it was inherited. There is a process called “step up on basis” that sets the value of the home at what it was worth on the day of death.

This can be quite beneficial to the family member or interested parties in the inherited home. If the inheritor had to pay capital gains on the difference between the last value of the home – for example when the deceased person got their mortgage on it – and the value at the time of sale, the increase could be very expensive.

income tax

As with the value difference above, if the inherited property receives rental income in the period between the death and the sale of the inherited house, you may have to pay income tax. Although the property itself doesn’t count as income for federal income tax purposes, if it is generating rental income, you may still be required to pay taxes on that income.

If the value of the real estate is left unchanged between date of death and date of sale, no income tax should be charged on the inherited home.

property tax

When you inherit property, there is a system in place to address property taxes. It’s possible the property taxes will increase quite a lot, particularly if the decedent’s home had not been revalued since the original mortgage.

If the market value of the home has increased significantly, property taxes will likely be owed on a newer, larger market value. This is one reason it can be beneficial to sell real estate quickly.

Homestead Status

boy and girl standing near window looking outside at homestead property in Florida

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Florida has a set of regulations around homestead property that may come into play when selling an inherited home. For a property address in Florida, a homestead exemption may apply to the inherited home, depending on the legal ownership.

What is the homestead exemption?

Homestead law protects someone living in a home from having their house taken to pay off their debts. So, if you’re living in a home and can’t pay off creditors, they usually wouldn’t be allowed to confiscate and sell your house.

If the inherited property is real estate that was the primary residence of the deceased, it’s processed a little differently than other categories of the deceased’s assets.

a homestead is not part of probate

If an inherited house is a homestead, it is set aside and is not considered to pay off debts. Creditors may not liquidate a homestead for payment.

Instead, the home or the proceeds from the sale of the house will go to the heirs and trustees determined by the Florida probate court.

non homesteaded property

If the inherited house is not the primary residence of the deceased – if deceased persons are real estate investors, for example, and the house is an investment property – it will not qualify as a homestead.

For this type of real estate, creditors may be able to engage a selling process in order to recover debts. In cases like these, it’s likely a better choice to get advice from a real estate agent familiar with such transactions.

unclear status

If, for some reason, there is a party who wants to dispute homestead status – either because the creditor believes the inherited house does not qualify as a homestead and can therefore be liquidated to pay debts, or if an heir thinks it should qualify – they can request an order determining homestead status.

If the status is unclear, a court can determine whether the inherited property qualifies as a homestead or not, for the purposes of executing the will or otherwise resolving assets.

Selling an Inherited Home

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Often, those grieving a recent loss have an emotional attachment to an inherited home. It can be stressful to figure out how to handle the repairs needed, clearing the home of memorabilia and other personal property, and finding a buyer.

Because of the high emotional energy of the process of selling inherited property, finding a real estate agent – and even a real estate attorney – can be of the most benefit.

the state of the home

One thing to determine when selling an inherited property is whether to do any repairs needed or to sell as is. Depending on the property address, it may be easy to sell the house as is, particularly if real estate investors want to buy houses in the area.

Selling a home in its current state may be more difficult with a traditional mortgage company, but there are many cash home buyers who offer cash to buy houses. If such an organization tries to offer cash for the property, check around to ensure it’s a reputable cash buyer.

cash home buyers

Heirs can sometimes get a fair cash offer from these cash home buyers, but it’s generally a good idea to be sure everyone’s on the same page. If you’re selling the house as is, check with the buyer to ensure they are not expecting changes or repairs.

Sometimes, the buyer will agree to cover closing costs or offer other incentives to close. Check with your real estate agent about the possibilities.

Using the Available Resources

photo album shown in inherited home in Florida

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Selling an inherited home can seem overwhelming. Making sure everyone’s on the same page, dealing with the physical reality of a home that may contain a lot of memories, and managing one’s personal feelings about death is a lot for anyone to handle.

For this reason, it’s great to have some tools and resources available to help. Getting advice from knowledgeable sources, like real estate professionals, can help take some of the burdens off the shoulders of the family of the deceased.A little knowledge can go a long way when trying to manage expectations. Heirs in Florida may find benefit from articles and advice from trusted sources while navigating this difficult time.

5 Steps to Sell a Run Down House in Charlotte

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Are you looking to sell a run-down house in Charlotte but worried about the stains, shutters, and siding? Do you need to sell an unwanted property or sell your house fast? In today’s market, those anxious feelings are common in those looking to sell a house in less-than-stellar condition.

While it’s true that some properties require more renovations than others, there are plenty of real estate solutions for your Charlotte house. Keep in mind that you’re not alone in wondering if your house can sell in today’s market. Charlotte homes are quickly selling and you could get a great price if you sell your home.

Read the tips provided below to learn more about selling a run-down house in Charlotte, NC.

  1. Know the Condition of Your Home

When using the term “poor” or “bad” condition for a house, remember that it’s a sliding scale that can be interpreted in different ways. While your home may be in “poor” condition, it is also an investment opportunity to others. Let’s see where your home falls on the scale. 

Uninhabitable/Condemned

Many factors can make a property uninhabitable. These issues include but aren’t limited to:

  • Structural Issues
  • Electrical Issues
  • Plumbing Issues
  • Mold, Asbestos, or Lead
  • Extreme Roof Damage
  • Intense Chimney Damage
  • Deficient HVAC System 

These items can lead to a home being too dangerous to inhabit. 

Major Repairs Needed

If your home is visually in need of repairs, it can still be considered in “poor” condition. 

  • Extensive Roof Damage
  • Considerable Foundation Issues
  • Damaged Flooring
  • Broken Kitchen or Bathroom
  • HVAC System Issues 
  • Electrical Issues 

While these conditions don’t necessarily deem your home non-livable, there are still issues that need to be fixed. 

Updates Needed

The last category is cosmetic updates and small repairs that are needed to improve your home and your curb appeal. Your home might still be considered in “poor” condition if you need to change any of the following:

  • Out-of-date Kitchen 
  • Out-of-date Bathroom
  • Paint 
  • Fixtures 
  • Flooring 
  • Landscaping

Home sellers can make small repairs such as changing the light fixtures and applying a fresh coat of paint to help spruce up your property.

  1. Know Your Options
charlotte, sky scape, city scape

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Now that you have an idea of the condition of your home, the next step is to figure out your selling options. 

Option 1: Sell Your Home As-Is 

One selling method that is appealing to Charlotte cash home buyers would be “sell as is,” meaning your property is left unchanged. Repair costs can add up. If you are feeling frustrated, tired, and stressed out knowing that you have too many repairs and not enough time and money, you can sell your house as is. If selling your house quickly is important, selling as-is would also be in your best interest.

Selling your Charlotte home as-is can also lead to a cash offer. There are real estate investors and cash buyers who are looking to buy burdensome houses and will pay cash to buy your property. An investment firm or direct buyer will buy houses and often give a fair all cash offer.

With a direct sale, you can typically expect a fast closing without having to pay realtor commissions. Closing costs are also usually paid by the investors. If you have a cash offer, you can also expect a quicker closing date on your house.

Not all buyers will provide a fair cash offer but there is another selling option.

Option 2: Investing in Major Repairs

If you’re up to the challenge of making major renovations and repairs on your Charlotte home (and if you have time and money), investing in repairs would bring in more traditional homebuyers and could potentially yield a higher price for your home. This can be time-consuming but you would be helping homeowners in the long-run.

Examples of major repairs would be updating a kitchen or bathroom, replacing flooring and windows, and providing new appliances. When you invest in major repair costs, you can expect more money on your return investment.

  1. Make Cost-Effective Repairs

If you can’t invest in a large home renovation, don’t stress! There are still minor repairs and small changes that can make a world of difference when selling your home. One of the best things you can do is provide the interior of your home with fresh paint. A fresh coat of paint will show your buyers the potential of the interior of your home. 

plumbing, pipe, wrenches

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Other small repairs to your property would be to change the doorknobs and other small fixtures around your house. Make sure all fixtures have working lightbulbs so your house literally lights up inside! If you can’t replace the flooring, you can always use a stain remover instead. 

If you are ready to take photos of your property so you can sell, make sure to declutter all items and clean up the interior as much as possible. Simple solutions like putting away items on countertops and cleaning the sinks will make a huge difference. 

Lastly, maintain a well-kept yard where the grass is cut and any items like garbage cans and storage bins are placed out of sight. 

  1. Highlight the Positive

Many homes come with a unique selling point. It could be a walk-in closet, extra storage room, large pantry, or space for a home office. Whatever key feature you think is important, make sure to highlight that in your home.

Emphasize those selling points when you stage your home. Hiring a professional photographer to take photos of your property will help homeowners when selling. Chances are you have plenty of features in your home that can be appealing to home buyers.

Scaffold on new construction in Charlotte

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Your neighborhood may also be a selling point for potential buyers. Is there a corner market where the owner knows your name? A cafe within walking distance? What about a nice walking or jogging path? A Charlotte real estate agent can help highlight appeals of your property address. These key positive influences can provide potential buyers with a certain charm about your home and neighborhood. 

  1. Be Fair and Patient

Once you’re ready to list, remember to ask for a fair price. Charlotte real estate agents can help set a selling price, offer open houses to increase traffic to your home, and provide help to homeowners who are looking to quickly sell their property for an affordable price. Try not to under or over sell your property. This could lead to your house being on the market for longer than intended. 

realtor, real estate, real estate agent

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This leads to the last tip: be patient. Selling a run-down house requires work and patience. Keep in mind that some buyers want a house they consider to be “move-in ready.”

But don’t get discouraged! Selling a run-down home in Charlotte is completely possible. While the entire process can be overwhelming, the right buyer for your Charlotte home is out there.

I Got an Unsolicited Text to Buy My House – What Should I Do?

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Have you been getting unwanted texts from unknown numbers looking to buy your house? Are you worried if these unsolicited text messages are real or a scam? Many homeowners are in the same situation.

Unsolicited offers are typical in a hot real estate market. An unsolicited offer often comes from an agent, investor, or company who wishes to buy a property from homeowners that are not actively looking for a buyer.

If your home is not on the market, it can be confusing as to why someone is making an unsolicited offer on your property. Let’s break down why homeowners are receiving unsolicited offers, who is making them, and what you can do about them.

Why Am I Getting These Texts?

Because real estate is currently in a seller’s market, there aren’t enough houses for the numerous buyers. According to Freddie Mac, the U.S. had a deficit of 2.5 million units in 2018, which grew to 3.8 million by 2020. (I’m not sure if this is correct to add in sources?) The median price of existing homes has also risen to $403,800, according to the National Association of Realtors, making competitive markets spring up. This means buyers are competing against multiple offers in order to purchase a home.

Think of an unsolicited offer as modern-day cold calls. Homes in coveted neighborhoods tend to sell quickly. If someone rides by your neighborhood and likes your house, they might seek out a real estate agent for help. The real estate agent would then in turn send unsolicited offers to buy your house. Buyers don’t want to wait for desirable homes to hit the market.

On the other hand, investors tend to look for homes where they can make a deal. They will search for properties where they can provide a cash offer (often under the value of your home), fix it, and sell for a profit.

The demand for homes and shortage of properties could possibly explain why there are more unsolicited offers now than before. So while your home is off market, buyers are out there who wish to purchase your property.

Who Is Sending These Texts?

It can be confusing and bothersome to get unsolicited offers from multiple sources. Knowing who is behind sending these texts can help understand why it’s happening in the first place.

Property owners might receive phone calls or be on direct mailing lists in addition to receiving unsolicited text messages. If you receive unsolicited offers, you are probably wondering who is behind them. Let’s take a look at the different categories below.

Scams

We’ve all received texts from unknown numbers offering or asking for all kinds of deals. If you’re getting a text from someone asking to buy your property and there’s no company, investor, or agent connected to it, chances are it’s a scam.

One major scam to be aware of is “white knight.” Also known as a foreclosure rescue, a “white knight” scam is when a buyer will offer a loan to the homeowner in exchange for signing over the deed or title. This would help the homeowner avoid foreclosure.

However, once the homeowner is ready to pay back the “white knight,” they could have disappeared, sold the property, and possibly tried to force eviction proceedings.

Again, be wary of texts that do not have any kind of company, investor, or agent associated with the number. Always research who is contacting you before responding.

Wholesalers

While wholesalers could be working for a legitimate company, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have your best interests when offering to purchase your home.

What exactly is a wholesaler? If real estate investors don’t have the time to find properties, they will seek out wholesalers to do all the work.

More often than not, wholesalers will send homeowners an unsolicited offer that is lower than the market price. Wholesalers and investors work together to ensure they are buying low on the property so they both make a profit. 

Cash offers are often made so the deal can be handled quickly. In most deals, wholesalers will make the offer on behalf of an investor. However, sometimes wholesalers will purchase your property outright and sell it directly to an investor in order to make a profit.

Real Estate Investors

There are plenty of TV shows that boast house remodels and flipping. Investors will contact homeowners with unsolicited offers, sometimes involving cash. Investors will likely fix up a home and flip it to either sell for a profit or keep it as a rental property.

Just like wholesalers, investors will offer less than market value in order to make a profit. Investors might be house flippers or home buying companies that exclusively deal with cash offers when they buy homes.

Real Estate Agents

Unsolicited offers don’t always come from the ones listed above. A local real estate agent might work with their homebuyers to make offers on a coveted home or neighborhood. An agent might send an offer to make an off market deal to avoid a bidding war in a competitive market.

house, architecture, front yard

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What If I Want to Sell My Home?

Even if you haven’t considered selling your home in recent years, a cash offer might be enticing. However, you should always do your research first by taking into consideration the items below.

Get Help From Professionals

Working with real estate professionals will help when learning your property’s fair market value. A real estate agent can also help you determine the profit if you sell your house on the open market. Remember that real estate agents work for your best interests and will try to get top dollar for your house.

purchase, house, house purchase

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If you decide to accept an unsolicited offer, consider hiring an attorney who can help with the process. Real estate transactions can be tricky and overwhelming. Having someone else look over documents could benefit your sale in the long run.

Know Your Home’s Worth

Before accepting a cash offer, do your due diligence on learning your home’s fair market value. Compare the value of your home to others in your neighborhood, determine what other buyers are willing to pay, and research any costs associated with listing your property for sale.

Take into account the following costs before making a decision:

  • Staging Your Home

It can be quite expensive to stage your home before listing it on the market. While professional staging and photos could bring in more money to your home, accepting a cash offer means you won’t have to worry about this process.

  • Conducting Repairs

Home repairs can also be an added expense if you decide to sell. If you don’t have the time or money to invest in repairs, you could accept an unsolicited offer.

  • closing costs and fees

Most cash buyers will offer to cover the closing costs of your home. Don’t forget that working with a real estate agent means you will have to pay commissions as well.

  • Marketing and Escrow Times

Depending on the current housing market, homes might stay listed for longer. Cash buyers can also close quickly. Take these factors into consideration if you are looking to sell your home fast.

Pros and Cons of Unsolicited Offers

There are plenty of factors to think about if you plan to accept an unsolicited offer. If you don’t want the stress of going through a real estate agent to list your house, an unsolicited offer might be a good choice. Always remember to do your own research when finding your home’s value before accepting an offer

As previously mentioned, an unsolicited offer will often ask to purchase your home under value. Most often, buyers that send unsolicited offers will not negotiate because they are looking for a quick and low-priced deal. 

If you are looking to make a profit on your house, working with realtors would be your best bet.

What You Should Do About These Texts

It can be confusing to receive an unsolicited text to buy your home, especially if you aren’t interested in selling.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear-cut way to stop unsolicited offers to buy your house. If you definitely aren’t interested in selling your home, you can try to slow down the number of text messages in these ways.

  • Put your phone number on the national do not call registry
  • make sure to block any unwanted phone numbers
  • ask companies or agents to remove you from their phone and mailing lists
  • ask them not to contact you again

If the texts still continue, try contacting the Better Business Bureau or Federal Trade Commission.

Let’s Review

In short, a low supply of homes and high demand will create a seller’s market. Investors and real estate agents will use this opportunity to send unsolicited offers to buy homes through texts or phone calls, even if you aren’t interested in selling.

While some of these offers are legitimate, others might be scams. Remember to explore all your options thoroughly if you plan on going with a cash offer.

What to do When You Need to Sell an Investment Property in North Carolina

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Owning a rental property in North Carolina can be a great investment providing you with extra income, but you might be considering selling for several reasons.

Maybe the costs of owning investment properties have increased. Maybe you are moving out of the area and don’t want the hassle of rental properties. Maybe you’ve had a major life change. Or maybe you are in need of immediate cash flow. 

Whatever the case may be, if you own an investment property in North Carolina and are looking to sell there are many considerations to take into place.

Know The Real Estate Markets

It’s important to know the current housing market conditions in North Carolina. If your property is in a prime location, real estate investors will take note. Your investment property might be located in the city, country, or small town that is the ideal location for others interested in real estate investing.

Is it a Buyer’s Market or Seller’s Market?

Identifying trends in the housing market can be figured out by researching the following:

  • number of homes for sale in your area
  • how many days homes are on the market
  • examining list prices to sale prices

One of the most important questions to ask when determining your real estate market is whether it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market. If there is a high demand for houses and minimal properties for sale, the market is more advantageous for sellers.

Even though real estate investors want markets with favorable buying conditions (a buyer’s market) don’t get discouraged when selling your investment property. Planning and patience is key when looking to sell a property investment.

Learn About the Economy and Job Markets of The Area

It’s important to study the demographics of the area to know if your property in North Carolina will bring in a potential property investor. Those interested in real estate investing will look for the following:

  • Unemployment Rates
  • Occupancy Rates
  • Rental Conditions

A city or town in North Carolina that has a favorable job market and a secure economy will bring in more residents. This will allow for more rentals in the area whether it’s single family homes or a condo.

Know The Neighborhood

minimalist photography of house shot in front of chain fence

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After determining the market and studying the demographics of the area, examine the neighborhood for any and all conveniences. Is public transportation nearby? Are the roads in good condition? How close are schools? These are all factors that will help sell investment property in North Carolina.

Learn About Tax Laws

When selling rental properties, be mindful that taxes on investment properties are different from primary residence sales. So what’s the difference?

If you sell a home that was your primary residence, you usually do not have to pay taxes on the net proceeds of the sale. However, those tax breaks are not extended to the selling of investment properties.

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Capital Gains Taxes

It’s reasonable to assume that your investment property has increased in value throughout the time you’ve owned it. This means that you will make a profit once it sells. This is called capital gain. 

If you’ve owned your rental property for less than a year, the profits would be treated as short-term capital gains. This means you will be taxed at the same rate as your income.

If you have owned the investment property for more than a year, your profit would be treated as a long-term capital gain and you would be taxed at a lower rate.

Other Factors to Consider

If your taxable income is less than $80,000, you do not have to pay capital gains taxes. 

Maybe you are looking to re-invest the money from this investment property into another one in a different location. It’s possible to defer capital gains taxes with a 1031 exchange. This means you have a fixed amount of time to find a similar property for investment purposes.

You can also avoid capital gains taxes with the IRS “ownership and use” test. This means you would need to have the following:

  • Owned the property for at least two years
  • Lived in the property as your primary residence for the past two out of five years

Once you’ve decided which route is the best for your investment property, it’s time to start planning the next step.

Be Honest With Your Tenant

Once you’ve determined you want to sell your investment property, you will need to take into consideration if there is a tenant already occupying the property. There are several different ways in which you can be mindful of your renters.

house keys to investmen property in NC

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Ask Tenants to Vacate Before Listing Property

It’s important to keep in mind if you have renters occupying your property once you have started the process to put it on the market. You can try to work out an agreement where they vacate before it’s listed but notice is required.

Month-t0-month leases often require landlords to inform tenants anywhere from 30 to 60 days to vacate the home. Make sure to check with the NC state law regarding this process.

If your renter is resolved on staying put in the property, you will need to honor their lease agreement. In nearly all states, lease agreements are transferred with the sale of your property. The new owner cannot make changes to the lease agreement until it expires. Again, check with NC state law regarding this process.

The most important part of dealing with your tenants is to communicate. Remember to be kind and conscientious to your renters if they need to stay while you find a buyer. Simple things like giving them ample warning before a showing, maintaining the yard, and informing them once the property sells will help during the process.

Good Tenants Make Good Selling Points

If you already have good tenants in your property, this could become a good selling point. Some property management companies or real estate brokerage firms will look for the right property investment which already has a cash flow.

When listing the property, make sure you are ready to answer these questions:

  • What is the monthly rent?
  • How long have the current tenants lived there?
  • Do the tenants pay the rent on time?
  • What utilities are covered by the tenants?
  • When does the current lease or contract expire?
  • Do the current tenants maintain the property in a good condition?

Be honest with your tenants when you know you are about to list your property. Let them know that potential buyers will be coming through the property. You can offer small incentives like gift cards to keep your tenants happy during this process.

Make Necessary Repairs

While there might be buyers who will purchase your investment property without repairs, it might not be a bad idea to upgrade and make small repairs. You might be trying to sell your property investment in North Carolina quickly, but making necessary repairs could produce a higher price.

man cleaning investment property in NC

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What If I Can’t Make Repairs?

If you can’t make repairs due to time or money issues, you could still potentially find investors. An investor or buyer might look for a property investment that needs work in order to get a lower purchase price.

Another item to consider is if your property is currently empty. Renovations and repairs might take time, meaning you will be losing out on rental income during that time.

Benefits of Making Repairs

If you do have time and money to make repairs and upgrades, you could possibly bring in buyers willing to pay more for your NC investment property. As the seller, it might be in your best interest to increase your property value by installing new flooring, applying fresh paint, providing new appliances, and making sure there is access to high speed internet.

These types of repairs and upgrades could yield a higher cash return on your property investment.

Questions to Ask Before Making Repairs

Before you begin spending time and money on repairs, make sure to consider these questions:

  • WHAT IS THE CURRENT CONDITION OF THE REAL ESTATE MARKET? ARE INVEstment properties IN HIGH ENOUGH DEMAND WHERE YOU CAN SELL?
  • Do you have current tenants? CAN YOU WORK AROUND TENANTS IN ORDER TO MAKE REPAIRS?
  • Will the property have to be empty for repairs, meaning you will lose rental income?
  • What tax considerations do I need to take into account? knowing the difference between repairs and improvements will help make your decision.

Stage Your Property

First impressions matter. Even if you can’t make all of the necessary repairs to your property, there are plenty of ideas below to help you get started.

Curb Appeal

Make potential buyers notice your property from the get-go! Whether you have single family homes or a condo to sell, one of these items will work for you when staging your property.

  • Apply a fresh coat of paint to the front door and/or shutters
  • replace house numbers
  • cut the grass and clear out any weeds
  • add a welcome mat
  • consider planting seasonal flowers in any flower beds
  • add to your living space by placing outdoor chairs on the front porch

Kitchen and Bathroom Ideas

Properties that have updated kitchen and bathrooms tend to be noticed more in today’s market. Not all renovations have to break the bank! Take a look at some ideas that work when staging your property.

  • keep counter space clear and wipe them down.
  • update cabinets with a fresh coat of paint.
  • replace hardware like faucets and door knobs. If you can’t replace it, make sure to clean and make it shine!
  • remove hard water stains and clean the grout or tile.
  • consider replacing the shower curtain and adding new bathmats.
  • add a hand towel next to the bathroom sink along with a candle and fancy soaps.
  • place all personal belongings in the medicine cabinet or cabinet.

Emphasize The Best

Highlighting all of the potential space and features of your property is key. Too much furniture can make a home seem smaller than it actually is. Consider these other ideas when staging your property.

  • cut back any unnecessary furniture items. This will free up more space making it easy for buyers to walk around the property.
  • highlight focal points like a fireplace, office space, or walk-in closet.
  • clear off the coffee table.
  • remove any personal items like family pictures, diplomas, or kids’ artwork.
  • If you allow pets in your rental property, make sure pet odors and dander are nonexistent.
  • hire a professional stager and/or photographer to take photos.

While all of these items might not be relevant to your investment property, staging your property before listing could possibly help the sale.

Set the Right Price

Many buyers will search for an attractive place that is located in a big city or metro area with access to numerous amenities. If your investment property in NC fits this criteria, setting the right price is key for other investors and realtors alike.

north carolina town with house for sale

Image by Elijah Mears via Unsplash

Finding the right realtor can help when listing your property. Real estate agents know home values in NC and can help with properties like rentals. There are also real estate agents who specialize in buying and selling investment properties.

Real estate agents who specialize in property investments in North Carolina can help with the following:

  • knowing and understanding today’s housing and renting trends
  • tax laws on investment properties

You can also choose to sell to real estate investors. When selling to a real estate investor, you can sometimes expect a cash close. Investors might also purchase your property as is, eliminating the need for repairs.

Last But Not Least

Selling your investment property in NC does not have to be as stressful as you think! Search for the right information regarding the market and tax laws, notify your tenants of your intention, stage the property, and list. There are always others looking to invest in real estate. Before you know it, your property will be sold!

Top 12 Realtors in Charlotte, NC

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Buying and selling real estate can be nerve wracking and more than a little overwhelming. Working with the right agent can make all the difference in not only how much money you make or save, but top realtors in Charlotte can also take the stress out of the process.

So much of negotiation and outcomes in real estate hinge on the ability of a real estate agent to know the market and work effectively with the other players. Hustle, drive, personability, and quick thinking are essential for success in the competitive market of the Charlotte metropolitan area.

Finding the right real estate agent is a central part of either buying or selling your property in North Carolina. The right real estate agent will not only help you to get through the process, but they’ll also be a sounding board for your ability to understand everything that’s going on in a real estate transaction.

What’s special about the Charlotte real estate market?

Charlotte, NC is a major metropolitan area that is home to an ever-increasing population. In the last several years, this city has exploded with a huge amount of growth both in the housing sector and in the job market.

Why are people so interested in living in Charlotte? North and South Carolina are both home to beautiful places and a mild climate. Charlotte, NC is situated close to the mountains and close to the ocean, making vacationing easy when you live and work in the city.

Carolina real estate experts are aware of the draws to this area, and they also know that the real estate market is white hot right now. A great real estate agent will not only know the area, but they’ll be able to use their negotiation skills to get you the right price for a home in North Carolina that works for your needs.

How many real estate agents are there in Charlotte?

House with solar for sale by a real estate agent in Charlotte, NC

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No matter where you are interested in living in and around Charlotte, North Carolina, you’ll need a real estate agent who can deliver. The good news is that you’ve got lots of top seller’s agents and more than a few buyer’s agents to help you in your search.

Charlotte has almost eight thousand licensed real estate agents who are active in the current market. It’s the largest metropolitan area in North Carolina, and this has led a lot of real estate experts to come to this area to sell property and help people buy property.

The top realtors in Charlotte know how to get the best outcomes for their clients, and they’re constantly working on making the home buying process in North Carolina easier for everyone.

What are the prices for top real estate agents in Charlotte?

Looking at real estate transaction data analysis that’s published and public knowledge, we know that the top five percent of seller’s agents in the area get over $45,000 more per home for a Charlotte property than the average sale. That’s a huge number and represents a significant benefit for hiring a Charlotte real estate agent.

It’s not just sellers whose real estate needs are met with these top real estate agents in Charlotte. The top five percent of buyer’s agents in Charlotte, NC according to that same data are able to save their clients .08% more than the average agent in the area.

Working with a top real estate agent in Charlotte is a sure fire way to get more out of properties than by going it alone or working with an agent who isn’t in that upper echelon. The expertise that Charlotte real estate agents bring to their transactions are an important part of making any real estate transaction successful, whether it’s from a large developer or with a first time home buyer.

The competitive nature of the Charlotte real estate market makes it important for homebuyers and sellers to choose the right real estate agent, because it can make all the difference in getting the right price or the perfect home.

Understanding the Charlotte, NC real estate market

Older home for sale by real estate agents in Charlotte, NC

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When looking for the right real estate agents in Charlotte, it’s important to have a solid foundation of what the market is like. Though this is a booming southern city, it’s also a center of culture and education.

Charlotte is made up of a wide variety of boroughs. These include places like NoDa, Uptown, Dilworth, Midtown, and Center City. Reaching a little further out of town, there are lots of suburbs around town that are also popular for both old residents and those relocating to the Charlotte area. These include places like Indian Trail, Mint Hill, Huntersville, Matthews, and South Hill in South Carolina.

There is an eclectic mix of possibilities for anyone interested in living in the Charlotte, NC area. Top real estate agents in Charlotte should be familiar with all the city has to offer, including which areas might be better suited for a family interested in purchasing a home. Often, a great real estate agent will be able to point you in the direction of a fantastic area that you might not even be aware of.

Charlotte by the numbers

The metropolitan area of Charlotte, has a population of roughly eight hundred thousand and is seated on about three hundred square miles.

Over half of the households in the city of Charlotte are made of up families, which makes it a family friendly city. The central downtown area is home to a professional football stadium and a professional basketball arena, as well as numerous music venues and theaters.

Most people in Charlotte commute less than half an hour to work. Of the roughly three hundred thousand households in Charlotte, roughly half are occupied by renters and the other half are occupied by homeowners. 67% of the population is under the age of 45.

As for the real estate market in Charlotte, it’s been going up dramatically in the last two years like the rest of the country. The average home in Charlotte stays on the market for just over a hundred days.

Top real estate agents in Charlotte

Charlotte real estate agents might be plentiful, but they are not all created equal. Working with the perfect real estate agent will help you to navigate the real estate industry.

Thes top twelve Carolina real estate experts are both knowledgeable and dependable. Top agents in Charlotte will help you to navigate the real estate process, whether they’re working as buyer’s agents or seller’s agents.

Here are a dozen top agents that will help you in your search for the perfect real estate agent in Charlotte.

1 – Rita Goforth

Rita-Goforth-Top-Real-Estate-Agent-In-Charlotte-NC

A 2018 graduate of the Superior School of Real Estate, Rita has a history of helping clients find the home that is not only the best fit for their needs, but also that fits into their budget.

Building her business on referrals, Rita brings a wealth of market knowledge to all of her transactions. Through her work over the last several years in the Charlotte area, Rita has built a strong network of connections with top real estate agents in and around Charlotte, enabling her to easily negotiate on behalf of her clients. She has a deep well of negotiation skills that allows her to get the best possible outcome for her clients. Rita is also the youngest person to win the rookie of the year award in the Charlotte metro area, surpassing the previous age record by over a decade.

From the very beginning of each client relationship, Rita brings a personal touch and a special dedication to her clients. The depth of her market knowledge is beneficial to both buyers and sellers, as well as to investors. In fact, Rita herself is a real estate investor. She has a successful track record of building a client base that’s advantageous for buyers who want to take their business to the next level.

Just this past spring, Rita was named one of the rising stars in real estate by Charlotte Top Producers. As a Keller Williams Realty affiliate, Rita has a bright and bold outlook on real estate. Her energy and expert support are incredible benefits for anyone who is moving to Charlotte from out of state or for local Charlotte residents who want to find their dream home right in the area.

2 – Brian Belcher

Brian Belcher, Charlotte, NC Real Estate Team Member/Associate - RE/MAX  Executive

Image via RE/MAX

Ranked as one of the top 100 real estate agents in the country, Brian brings a seriousness and a service to his real estate practice. As one of the top performing agents in the country, he’s won numerous awards for this work and is highly regarded in the field.

What sets him apart is not just his experience, but also his attention to detail. Brian makes every person in a transaction feel like they’re important and that their point of view is valuable. This is why the selling process that he brings to buyers and sellers has such positive reviews.

His office has locations in Fort Mill, Mooresville, Indian Land, Concord, Ballantyne, Cornelius, South Park, and Waxhaw. Not only is he great with clients, but he’s also a top negotiator. Brian is the perfect agent for home sellers who want a realty group that is both experienced and deeply committed to the outcome of each real estate transaction.

3 – Kim Trouten

Kim Trouten top real estate agent Charlotte

Image by Kim Trouten via Facebook

Leading the top ranked real estate team in Charlotte, Kim Trouten has brought her team to the cream of the crop in the United States in real estate – the top one percent. This award winning group of real estate professionals have gotten here through hard work and through incredible client service.

The concierge-style real estate service offered by Kim’s team is focused on South Charlotte and the northern part of South Carolina along the border. She has a wealth of experience in land development, architectural planning, construction, and interior design. With a high level of expertise in high end real estate, Kim’s team is known throughout the region for its real estate industry experience and its positive reviews.

Working closely with online marketing, social media, and networking, Kim is savvy and dedicated in providing the best possible services for both buyers and sellers. She and her husband live in an historic home in Dilworth that they rebuilt, bringing her experience to bear for her own home. Her longtime experience in Charlotte means that she knows the area and is invested in the people she works with.

4 – Eric Maynard

Besecker & Maynard Group

Image via Luxury Home Real Estate Magazine

Working with his longtime real estate partner, Monica Besecker, Eric Maynard is part of one of the most successful real estate teams in the greater Charlotte metropolitan area.

The winner of the Rookie of the Year Award when he entered Charlotte real estate, Eric is known for using technology to help leverage the real estate potential for his client. From virtual open houses to robust online sales tools, Eric is a great agent for anyone who wants not only potential buyers to know about their homes, but also for a smooth transition from listing to closing.

His team was listed as the #1 Group Sales Team and the #1 Listing Agent in Charlotte, he has a long history of being a guide for both first time home buyers and luxury sellers. The strong mix of marketing techniques and negotiation skills that Eric brings to bear for his clients is the reason he’s gotten positive reviews and that his combined sales in the calendar year were nearly one hundred million dollars.

5 – Minnie High

Minnie High, real estate agent in Charlotte

Image via Yelp

Minnie High is one of the top buyer’s agents in Charlotte, NC, working with clients and property owners to get the best possible outcome for their real estate transactions. In her former career, she was a social worker and educator. Now, Minnie brings all of that compassion and expertise to be the best agent possible.

The first priority in all of her client interactions isn’t less about the median listing price and more about giving buyers and sellers the best and most competent experience she possibly can.

Her work as a RE/MAX agent has allowed her to help buyers and sellers across Charlotte and the northern part of South Carolina. She is particularly passionate about helping veterans find homes, and Minnie is a Certified International Property Specialist.

6 – Ginny Baker

Profile photo of Ginny Baker, Real estate agent in Charlotte, NC

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Ginny Baker is one of the top ranked real estate agents in Charlotte with good reason. Not only is she one of the top performing agents in the city, but she’s also received positive reviews from long term and repeat clients. For her, it’s not just about the money – it’s about the time she puts in and the relationships she builds with her clients.

For her, understanding the emotional as well as the economic dimensions of the real estate transaction is essential to being successful. She views her clients as people first, and homeowners second. This approach makes her the best agent for both first time homebuyers and for families interested in relocating to Charlotte.

Her expertise extends beyond just the Charlotte, NC area. Having lived in five different states, Ginny has roots all over the country. This means she can connect home buyers with other professionals wherever they might be relocating to.

With more than fifteen years of experience as a Charlotte real estate agent, Ginny is adept at supporting families and individuals throughout the real estate process. For this reason, she’s a top agent and has a huge number of repeat clients and referrals.

7 – Evelyn McCorkle

Top agent in Charlotte, NC

Image via Yelp

A Charlotte native, Evelyn McCorkle is a member of Helen Adams Realty who has been working with clients for over 20 years as a trusted real estate agent and top agent in the area. Past clients consistently refer new buyers and sellers to Evelyn, who has a reputation for being both compassionate towards her clients and also being a hard negotiator who gets the job done.

The personal touch and dedication that Evelyn brings to all of her work carries through from the initial listing to the closing table. She’s a top agent who is also invested in the community that she lives and works in, providing resources for her clients that go above and beyond the normal real estate transaction.

Evelyn has particular experience supporting buyers who need to find a lender to work with. She’s a top agent for home buyers who need to learn the process, but she’s also adept at helping experienced sellers who are ready to downsize or relocate.

8 – Timothy Rohan

Tim Rohan, top agent in Charlotte, NC

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Leader of the Rohan Group, Tim Rohan is a longtime top agent in the Charlotte area who has a special expertise in helping homeowners who have a high median listing price for their property. He’s a top buyer’s agent in the Charlotte area, primarily specializing in single family homes.

Most often, Tim represents the seller in transactions, but he does work with buyers as well. Tim has the most sales experience as a seller’s agent. He’s in the top six percent of agents in Charlotte, closing over a hundred more homes in the last year than the average agent in the Charlotte area.

9 – Kate Terrigno

Kate Terrigno, top real estate agent in Charlotte, NC

Kate is a former broadcast journalist who turned her attention to real estate as a way to have hands-on experience in a fulfilling career.

With a wealth of experience in both buying and selling, Kate is known in the area for being a driver agent who is willing to go the extra mile to do the right thing for her clients. In her years in Charlotte, Kate has consistently been one of the top producing agents. Working with both buyers and sellers, Kate is a fierce negotiator and a passionate advocate for her clients.

10 – Kristi Vernon

Vernon Realty Group, 13620 Reese Blvd. East, Suite 130, Huntersville, NC  28078, USA

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The founder of Vernon Realty Group, Kate Vernon is an experienced and passionate realtor who has a reputation for being hard working and honest. Clients routinely refer friends and family to this Keller Williams Realty team.

This dynamic and powerful team of realtors has worked with all kinds of transactions. This includes investors, high end homes, fixer-uppers, historic homes, new construction, empty nesters, new families, those relocating to Charlotte from other places, and so much more.

This team follows the most recent real estate and home buying practices, learning from agents and constantly developing their team at Keller Williams Realty. Extending online practices and enabling buyers and sellers to understand the process as much as possible, this team is ready to take on any challenge in the Charlotte real estate market. this is why they’re consistently named as a top team of real estate professionals in the Charlotte and surrounding areas.

Recent transactions for this Keller Williams Realty team range from high end homes to starter homes, with list price points to match. They’re agents with passion and dedication, and it shows in the way that their clients review their work.

11 – Melissa Brown

Melissa Brown top real estate agent in charlotte

Image via Yelp

Very few real estate agents in Charlotte can match the enthusiasm and the expertise of Melissa Brown. Her excitement about people living and working in the Charlotte area is infectious, and her willingness to go the extra mile for her clients is unmatched.

She works hard to make sure that the real estate journey is tailored to each individual client, supporting them in everything from listing to staging to closing. Not only does she offer support for luxury homes and listing, but Melissa also works with first time homebuyers across the Charlotte area.

With almost fifteen years of experience, Melissa has a proven track record of helping real estate clients get the most out of their listings. Her highly personalized approach is a breath of fresh air among real estate agents. No matter the list price of a home, Melissa is there to support buyers and sellers throughout the transaction process.

As a member of the Helen Adams Realty Group, Melissa is supported by a strong group of real estate professionals in the Charlotte area.

The positive reviews of Melissa praise her support of clients who are relocating Charlotte from other areas, and she provides care and comfort throughout the real estate process.

12 – Dan Jones

Carolina Real Estate Experts

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Dan Jones serves Charlotte and the surrounding areas as one of the top real estate agents in this part of North Carolina. Over the last decade, he’s risen to be one of the top two percent of agents in Charlotte, selling homes fast and with a good deal of customer service delivered one each transaction.

Working through thousands of transactions across Kannapolis, Mooreseville, Concord, Mint Hill, Huntersville, and downtown Charlotte, Dan works with a top notch team. Roughly two thirds of his business has been representing sellers, with one third of his work having been as a buyer’s agent.

One of the strengths of Dan’s work is that he looks at objective performance data to support home sellers getting more money for each of their transactions. Using established systems, Dan and his team make light work of real estate transactions. The entire process with Dan and his team offers sellers and buyers a straightforward method to get real estate in North Carolina bought and sold.

Choosing the right Charlotte, NC real estate agent for you

Pool at a house for sale near Charlotte, NC

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Whether the North Carolina real estate agent you choose to work with is a long term agent who has worked with an agency like Keller Williams or RE/MAX, or if they are a newer real estate agent who is just getting started in their own independent realty group and are not a member of a national association, you should feel confident in finding your home with the support of an expert.

The entire process for home buyers and for home sellers in Charlotte is not like it is in mega cities like San Francisco or Chicago because North Carolina is its own unique market.

When choosing a real estate agent, don’t forget that you have all of the choices and lots of autonomy in this situation. The right real estate agents are those who appreciate your needs and treat you with the kind of supportive methods that make it all work for you.

What’s the Best Way for a Family in Tampa to Avoid Foreclosure?

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Many Tampa homeowners who have missed monthly mortgage payments are concerned about how to avoid foreclosure. It’s stressful to worry about pending legal action while also being unable to make this month’s mortgage payment.

If you are to weather financial problems and avoid foreclosure, you may find resources for mortgage relief options helpful.

Stop Foreclosure by Starting Now

Although it may feel overwhelming to get useful information on avoiding foreclosure, Floridians are mostly likely to get help if they reach out for help as soon as they know there’s a problem and take proactive steps to stay out of foreclosure.

Contact your mortgage servicer as soon as you can.

Many mortgage servicers have foreclosure prevention options of which you may not be aware. If you’re experiencing financial hardship, start with your loan servicer.

Contact your lender and find out if they’ll allow you to delay payments or create a repayment plan for any missed mortgage payments. Usually, a mortgage company would much rather avoid the foreclosure process, so your mortgage servicer could provide options such as:

loan modification

A loan modification is when the mortgage lender permanently changes your mortgage to make it more affordable to you.

SHort refinance

A short refinance is a type of loan modification in which the mortgage company changes the terms of your loan so that you don’t go into foreclosure.

repayment plan

A repayment plan can help you restructure your missed payments, adding some of the past due amount to your monthly mortgage payment.

forbearance

A forbearance is when your mortgage servicer allows you more time to pay on your mortgage loan by reducing or eliminating the monthly payment until you have come out the other side of your financial difficulties.

Often, a forbearance is combined with a repayment plan. Note: this is not a situation in which the lender forgives the missed payments. You will likely have to repay the loan in one lump sum at the end of the forbearance.

Mortgage companies have an incentive to help you afford your existing mortgage, so they can be a great first stop in foreclosure prevention help.

Learn about the foreclosure laws in Tampa.

There are many for profit companies who make their money from foreclosure recovery scams. One way to avoid foreclosure prevention companies that are not legitimate businesses is to be aware of federal law regarding loan documents.

Some resources to check first could be:

HUD approved housing counselors

A HUD approved housing counselor is someone certified by the United States government Department of Housing and Urban Development to look at your unique financial difficulties and help walk you through options that are possible with your personal finance situation.

your trusted real estate professional

A trusted real estate professional is one of the people more familiar with mortgage terms and may be able to offer you professional advice about how to avoid or navigate foreclosure proceedings. They might also be able to advise you on the types of things lenders might do in lieu of foreclosure.

the state government housing office

At each level of government, from federal to state, from Hillsborough County to the city of Tampa, there are professionals who can help refer you to loss mitigation programs. When mortgage holders work with homeowners to avoid a foreclosure sale, the process is called loss mitigation, and your local or state housing office can help you make sure your servicer is following the regulations of this process.

a law firm

Your mortgage is, after all, a legal document, so sometimes it’s helpful to find a legal professional that is familiar with the foreclosure process and has experience in foreclosure court. Just be sure that if a firm claims to “reverse foreclosure immediately” or some other grand claim that you check their credentials. You wouldn’t want to pay fees for advice that won’t actually be of help to you.

Investigate your own finances to see where you might make changes.

Foreclosure prevention woman

Image by Firmbee via Pixabay

Some people have fallen behind on their mortgage payments due to a medical emergency or some other sudden and unavoidable financial problem. Others just don’t have the same amount of funds free with the cost of living increasing.

Whatever the reason you’ve been unable to make mortgage payments, there are a few things to look at to increase your financial stability, even if only in the short term:

  • optional expenses
    • Cable TV, streaming services, or other entertainment expenses are often a place homeowners can cut back.
      • Are there services you’re paying for monthly but rarely use?
  • unused subscriptions
    • As above, are there any subscriptions you’re still paying for that you aren’t making use of? Check to see if you signed up for a free trial of a service and forgot to cancel when the trial period was up.
  • luxuries that aren’t so luxurious
    • Sometimes, we continue with an expense out of habit, rather than necessity. Would you be just as happy making breakfast at home as you would eating fast food on the way to work?
    • Would you work out just as often (or maybe more!) if you used those free weights in the garage instead of paying a monthly gym membership?
    • Would you be satisfied spending some time with your best friend painting each others’ nails, rather than going to the spa every three weeks?
    • For some of these types of questions, the answer will be “No! Absolutely not! That makes me happy, and my quality of life will suffer without it!” But if you find some products or activities that would still be enjoyable without the extra expense, why keep paying for something that doesn’t add value?
  • your bank balance and your credit report
    • Usually, you’ll first learn about mistaken or fraudulent charges from your bank statement. Most banks allow you to set up alerts for charges over a certain amount or a balance that dips below a certain amount. Even with such alerts, it’s often a good idea to check your accounts regularly to be sure everything is on the up-and-up.
      • Additionally, you may find recurring charges for something you’d forgotten about! A bank statement is a great place to check to find out where your money is going.
    • There are several reputable places that you can regularly check your credit report for free. It’s usually wise to look in on your credit periodically and ensure that there aren’t erroneous items that are bringing down your score.
      • Sometimes, there are reports of people seeing charges in default on their credit report that they know they’ve paid off! Keep abreast of what’s being reported so that you can take quick action if there’s a mistake.
  • insurance and investments
    • Generally, people who find themselves behind on mortgage payments aren’t gaining and losing millions in the stock market every day. However, even those of us with an average income may be forgetting about some “set it and forget it” programs.
      • For example, if you have a whole life insurance policy — often recommended to homeowners so that their family doesn’t inherit their mortgage expenses — you may have a cash value in it that you can draw from or borrow from.
      • Perhaps in times of more financial stability, someone invested in a mutual fund or retirement account that would allow you to draw on some of the value.
        • Note: you may have to pay fees for withdrawing money from some of these types of accounts. However, if the only alternative is foreclosure, sometimes the fees are worth it to homeowners.

Resources for Every Type of Homeowner

Just as there are different kinds of homeowners, there are different kinds of loans and different options for assistance. Knowing what you have can also help you figure out where to go.

Look for programs that assist people like you.

In Florida, there are specific mortgage assistance programs for seniors, for veterans, and for other groups. Check local and state websites to find out if there’s a program for you.

The type of loan may make a difference.

If you have a federally backed mortgage loan, like an FHA loan, you may find federal assistance programs to help you stop foreclosure. The United States government has developed programs to help homeowners stay out of foreclosure, and the qualifications for the programs vary. Check to see if you qualify for one of these.

If your mortgage is through a private lender, you may be able to work out an arrangement with them in lieu of foreclosure. For example, you could forbear the remaining debt and pay it in a lump sum if you’re expecting a windfall.

If you own a home outright already and are struggling to make payments on a second home’s mortgage, you may be eligible to explore a type of loan called a reverse mortgage. In this case, you’d borrow against the equity in a home to get a loan.

Homeowners must be at least 62 to qualify for a reverse mortgage, but there is no loan term as with a traditional mortgage. Instead, the loan is repaid when the borrower is no longer in the home.

When Foreclosure Seems Inevitable

Even if it turns out that a homeowner is unable to adequately modify the terms of their loan or their personal finances to be able to afford their payments, they may not necessarily enter foreclosure and be forced to move. These options may be a last resort, but a homeowner might still find them preferable to foreclosure.

deed in lieu

A deed in lieu is when your mortgage holder accepts the deed to your home as payment for the remainder of the mortgage. Using a deed in lieu means that the company doesn’t process a foreclosure, which can adversely affect your credit score. Instead, with a deed in lieu, the servicer owns the house, and the homeowner can leave without debt on the mortgage.

hard money loan

A hard money loan is different from a traditional loan or mortgage in a few key ways:

  • the house is the collateral
    • Rather than a deep investigation into your finances to ensure you’re capable of repaying a loan, as a traditional mortgage servicer might do, in a hard money loan, you’re putting up your house as collateral for the loan.
  • private lender
    • Often, the lender is a private person or company who specializes in these types of loan.
  • more expensive
    • Because the lender is taking on more risk, the interest rates tend to be much higher than a traditional mortgage.

short sale

If the lending company agrees to a short sale, the homeowner can sell the house for less than the cost of the remaining mortgage. The lender might forgive the difference or request repayment for what is left over. A short sale doesn’t allow you to keep the house, but it can help you avoid foreclosure.

There is Hope for Homeowners

Although it can seem daunting, foreclosure is not the only destination for a homeowner behind on payments. There are people, programs, and companies designed to keep you in your home — or at least to be sure foreclosure doesn’t weigh you down unnecessarily.

If you’ve fallen behind, reach out and ask for help. Your lender, your realtor, housing counselors, and others can assist you in finding the right option for you.

What Happens When a Landlord Gets Behind on Their Mortgage in North Carolina?

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If you’re making rent payments to a property owner, you may worry about what happens to you with a landlord behind on your mortgage.

Renters have obligations to their landlords, but what is the obligation a landlord has to ensure the security of their rental property? What can a renter do if their landlord is falling behind on their mortgage payments?

There are a few options for during and after the process of foreclosure, if the landlord isn’t keeping up with the mortgage on the property. Although a landlord may not be doing anything against the law by refusing to pay their mortgage, a tenant still may have some recourse to avoid adverse outcomes from a situation that isn’t their fault.

Rent Skimming

House for rent with mortgage

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While it is true that renters cannot stop paying rent according to their leases, federal law does have some ways of protecting tenants experiencing “rent skimming”.

Rent skimming is when tenants pay rent on their lease, but the property owners don’t use the money to make the mortgage payment. Rent skimming is not illegal in most states! The landlord has no obligation to use rent funds for anything in particular.

In most cases, even if rent skimming results in foreclosure, it does not mean the tenant has a legal right to stop paying rent. However, North Carolina state law does have some options for protecting tenants at foreclosure.

Renting and the Tenant Obligation

Whether a person has a written lease or an oral agreement to pay rent money, they may not refuse to pay, even if the landlord misses their own mortgage payments. A landlord’s income from rental property can be used in any way the property owners wish and does not have to go toward mortgage payments.

If renters don’t pay according to their leases, they can face eviction proceedings, so even if the landlord is facing foreclosure based on non-payment, you must continue to pay rent. This does not mean you have no options overall, though.

In most states, including North Carolina, there is legal help for tenants during a foreclosure process. There are also resources available to landlords if they’re struggling to make payments.

Landlords and a Foreclosed Property

Your landlord has rights and responsibilities to the renter and the rental property. By law, the landlord must inform tenants if the property is sold to a new owner. Although a landlord does not have to inform tenants of any foreclosure process, this information is public record, and if the tenants at foreclosure act quickly, they can potentially avoid eviction.

Renters can contact an attorney for advice, but there are also government agencies that assist with protecting tenants at foreclosure. At both the county and state level, tenants can find a website that will document their rights and any obligation in the process.

A HUD-approved counselor is someone certified by the federal government to assist renters and homeowners. They can advise you on programs such as rental housing counseling and eviction prevention. They could also assist the owner; if the situation is due to accidental negligence and the tenants still have a good relationship with the landlord, this could be a good program to recommend to them.

For example, if the landlord loses the home to foreclosure, the tenant could still contact the lender to attempt to recover their security deposit. If you have contacted a law firm and have an attorney-client relationship, you or the attorney could also get permission from the new owner to remain in the property.

Resources for Tenants Concerned about Eviction

mortgage for rent owner

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There are government agencies, programs, and organizations whose business is assisting people experiencing problems with housing. An internet search can provide a potentially overwhelming amount of options. It’s often best to prioritize sources from federal or local government websites.

Other resources, such as a trusted real estate professional or a banker with whom you have a personal relationship may be useful. People who work in the industries of housing and finance are more likely to be aware of the options for someone facing housing insecurity or eviction.

Even if eviction isn’t imminent, these experts may be able to point you toward assistance. Generally, it’s better to start early, as soon as there’s a concern.

When Ownership of a Foreclosed Property Changes

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Foreclosures aren’t ideal for a tenant, but you may not have to vacate the property. If the landlord has failed their obligation to pay the mortgage, the bank may begin a foreclosure. Even if the proceedings cannot be stopped as the property is foreclosed, a tenant may be able to renegotiate a lease with the new owner.

It’s possible the foreclosure process has gone so far that the court has issued a notice to vacate the property by a certain date. Still, if the tenant contacts the new owner or the person who services the property, the tenants may be able to continue tenancy in the same rental unit with the new homeowners.

You could give notice to a new owner that you’d like to continue the lease agreement you’d had with the old owner. Therefore, you may be able to rent the same property, even after foreclosure.

Just because the bank has taken the landlord to court, doesn’t mean the tenants automatically face eviction. The ownership of the home can change, and the new lenders can continue to rent under similar leases. Just be sure to go through the appropriate channels with your county and state.

A New Lender, a New Lease

If you have avoided eviction when your rental property was sold, you may have negotiated a new lease. How can tenants at foreclosure act to protect themselves and their money with the new landlord’s services?

When an owner buys a vacant property under foreclosure, they may seek to rent it out under the usual channels. When the property already has a tenant, the owner should give the tenant notice that the property has been sold after the foreclosure. The new lender can then begin a new lease.

After a transfer of the mortgage like this, most legal help services will recommend that all parties on the lease file a notice with the court, so that the court and the bank have records of the agreement between the landlords and the renters.

Good for the Lenders, Good for the Renters

architectural photography of concrete building for rent

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It can clearly be stressful for anyone when a mortgage enters foreclosure. Whether or not landlords give adequate notice to their renter, there are still some options:

  • rent skimming is the practice of receiving money for a property but not paying the mortgage on that property
  • the tenant still has the obligation to pay on the lease, with or without notice from the landlord
  • the landlord must give notice to the tenant if the property is sold
  • foreclosure doesn’t have to mean the end of tenancy
  • even if a bank foreclosed on a property, the tenant can start a lease with a new landlord

If your landlord is falling behind on their mortgage, it doesn’t have to mean you’ll lose your house. You may have been responsible with on-time payments and still have a landlord who didn’t keep up with theirs.

Although you have some obligation to pay the landlord according to the terms of your lease, you also have options if a new landlord secures the property from the previous owner. In some instances, a new owner can offer better terms than the previous owner.

You Have Options, and There is Help

woman leaning on wall while sitting on bed in rented home

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Although the average person may not be aware of all their options when it comes to renting, there are services that can help. If you hold up your end of the lease agreement, you may be in good standing to remain in the home, even if it changes ownership.

Federal law has some protections in place for renters, but it’s natural to need help from outside organizations. You don’t need to be an expert on housing law to be able to stay in your house; you can always reach out to those who are!

How to Find the Right Real Estate Attorney for a Cash Sale

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Taking the leap to sell a home can be daunting in any circumstance, but when you’re working with a cash sale, it can be even more challenging. Knowing how to choose a real estate attorney for a transaction will give you peace of mind and make the whole process much easier.

Where does a real estate attorney fit into the process?

A real estate lawyer is part of the wider process of buying a home. They fit in at the close of the process, when the real estate transaction takes place. Their fees are usually folded into that nebulous idea of “closing costs”, the catchall that includes everything from the home inspection to the title company to the notary fees.

The real estate attorney can facilitate a positive experience and make it a smooth one. Their services offer the added benefit of helping the average person understand the closing process and all of the legal jargon associated with the final sale of the home.

Hiring a real estate lawyer is really about doing that due diligence that will make sure of all the necessary paperwork. The right attorney that’s been licensed by the state’s bar association will know all of the ins and outs of the process and be able to make sure that everything is in order.

Are you required to hire a real estate attorney?

Not every state requires that a real estate attorney be part of the process, but some places do. It’s important to check the laws in the place that you live to make sure that you’re following the specific requirements.

You can search for a listing of your state’s particular requirements, but such a list of the 22 states that mandate a properly licensed law firm to handle the closing is below.

  1. Alabama
  2. Connecticut
  3. Delaware
  4. District of Columbia
  5. Florida
  6. Georgia
  7. Kansas
  8. Kentucky
  9. Maine
  10. Maryland
  11. Massachusetts
  12. Mississippi
  13. New Hampshire
  14. New Jersey
  15. New York
  16. North Dakota
  17. Pennsylvania
  18. Rhode Island
  19. South Carolina
  20. Vermont
  21. Virginia
  22. West Virginia

Even if you don’t live in a state that needs an attorney to represent someone in a real estate transaction, you should still consider at least consulting with one during the closing process.

What is a closing attorney?

A closing attorney is a licensed attorney who specializes in transactions involving property.

This kind of attorney will look over everything that is part of the property transaction and explain all of the paperwork that both the buyer and the seller sign. They can make sure that all of the documents are not only accurate, but that they are also understood by both parties.

With some real estate transactions, there are specific issues that come up. This is especially true in complex real estate transactions, like those that involve inherited property or probate. It’s vitally important that everyone in a transaction knows what problems might arise and what issues to be prepared for, and a real estate attorney is the best option to make that determination.

How much will a real estate attorney cost?

real estate attorney explaining a purchase contract to clients

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A lawyer who is a member of your state’s bar association will bring their many resources to bear on your property transaction, but that won’t come without a cost.

A good real estate attorney will charge somewhere between $150-$300 as an hourly rate for their services. This will include the time that they spend with you on the phone, as well as their fee for showing up to the final transaction at the closing table.

If it’s a standard real estate transaction, attorneys offer an all in prices that includes everything. You can expect to pay attorney’s fees of anywhere from $300-$2,000 depending whether you need a real estate support attorney who is new or highly experienced. The amount of the fee will also have to do with how much time the attorney will have to put into the transaction and what other requirements are part of the deal.

Upfront pricing vs. “blank check” pricing

There are lots of attorneys out there who work specifically with home buyers and sellers at closing only. They are able to do everything necessary, and an experienced real estate attorney will be able to get this done quickly.

You are the one in charge of the process, even if you’re working with an experienced attorney. There are lots of people who have practiced real estate law for a long time, and you should find one who works with you on your terms.

Sometimes an attorney will tell you that they want to charge you by the hour with a “blank check” model that lets them do the work for as many hours as they need to, then charge you when they practice law for your transaction after it’s all over.

In general, a reputable real estate attorney is going to give you a solid quote ahead of time either for a flat fee or for a specific number of hours at their hourly rate. You should have a good idea about what the estate attorney will charge you before you get done.

With cash closings, a particular attorney should tell you exactly what your final charge will be. Always make sure you get any quote in writing rather than trusting that it will all turn out alright.

How is a cash closing different from a traditional real estate sale?

A cash closing requires different real estate documents than a traditional real estate sale that’s done with a bank. The law in every state provides different requirements, like a home inspection or a buyer to have an appraisal done.

Lawyers who specialize in this kind of real estate will be able to tell their clients whether the cash sale needs other items to be done. Often, proof of funds isn’t even technically required for a real estate transaction, but it’s always a good idea.

The specific services surrounding the purchase contract and the closing documents are different for each state. Attorneys can help you know what exactly you need to do and which documents the state mandates.

Does a real estate attorney replace the real estate agent?

Any attorney will work in the best interest of the client to make the real estate transaction go through. The right lawyer will be able to do everything required by the bar association of your state.

In most states, you don’t have to have a real estate agent present in order to complete a real estate transaction. It has everything to do with what the laws are in your area. A real estate agent can help you do things like prepare the contract, but keep in mind that anyone can prepare a contract and then present it to be amended by an attorney.

In different states, attorneys are required for some of the tasks. For example, in some states a real estate attorney must prepare the documents for a home purchase, close the deal, and perform a title search. They aren’t necessarily required for personal loans or dealing with title insurance.

An attorney will be able to tell you what they can do in the initial consultation.

Where do contracts come from in real estate?

Contracts for anything dealing with the law can be found online, but these are only a starting place. Attorneys can provide reviews of these law documents as part of their services. Though resources exist online, these can’t be the primary way that you get to the end of the selling process.

An investor who regularly does real estate transactions will likely have their own home purchase contracts that they’ll present to you if you are working on a cash real estate deal. It’s always a good idea to have a lawyer who is recognized by the state bar look over these documents before you sign them.

Why you should still take an active role with a real estate attorney

Though a real estate attorney will be able to help you make sense of the process of buying a house for cash, you still need to take an active role in the homebuying process.

Look through the requirements of your state’s real estate law documents before you get to the real estate attorney. Real estate agents can sometimes help you make sense of some of the jargon, but real estate agents have their limitations as well.

Real estate law can be complex, and there are lots of things to think about in terms of the final transaction. A good real estate attorney will explain everything to you and will support your own investigation.

Take your time, even if you need a quick turnaround

Lawyer looking at a real estate contract

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Even if you are working on a cash real estate deal that needs a fast turnaround, do your due diligence.

Real estate lawyers should be able to answer all of your questions, and you’re smart to slow down and make sure that you know everything that you’re signing before you sign in. When attorneys are doing a home search, they should do it thoroughly and they should support your needs throughout the transaction.

Hiring a real estate attorney is good for the buyer and for the seller, even in a cash closing. Clients who work with experienced lawyers can feel confident that everything is taken care of legally and in their best interest at the closing table.

Is Now a Good Time to Buy a House in Tampa? All Your Questions Answered

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Whatever the reason you’re looking at a house in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, you’ll want to know all of the ins and outs of the Tampa real estate market in 2022.

For the past couple of years, the real estate market all over the United States has been exploding. In general, this has to do with a low inventory of homes available versus the number of people who want to buy homes.

The Tampa real estate market is great for sellers, but for buyers it’s a huge challenge. The question of whether this is a good time to buy in Tampa Bay has everything to do with your circumstances and resources, but understanding what’s behind the current housing market will help you to make the best decision for your family and your budget.

Is now the time for you to buy a home in Tampa, Florida? Let’s get to the bottom of that question.

Why the Tampa housing market is so hot

The booming Tampa housing market is showing little signs of slowing down. In fact, Tampa Bay was listed as the most expensive in the country in 2022 according to a report in the Tampa Bay Times that was based on numbers from Zillow.

Those numbers are pretty astonishing. According to this housing report, drivers for the rise in home prices include the increase in the number of home buyers in the area, a growing job market, and a large need for housing in general, both in terms of purchase and rentals.

All of this comes together to mean that housing is hard to come by in the area. The low inventory of available homes makes it almost impossible for homeowners to find a home to purchase. This hot housing market has caused home prices to go higher in Tampa, and there’s no sign that the real estate industry is slowing down at all.

In fact, according to that Tampa Bay Times report, 2022 will see home prices in Tampa go up 25%, that’s compared to just 14% in the rest of the country.

Who’s buying houses in Tampa?

House interior in Tampa, FL

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Part of what’s happening in the housing market in Tampa is a flood of real estate investors.

In the last year, one in four homes in Tampa, FL was sold to an investor. In many cases, these investors are then turning these pieces of real estate over to convert them into rental property. Home sales to individual families are near an all time low.

These investors are often bringing cash offers to the table, something traditional buyers can’t do. Investment property is a huge factor in home values in housing markets around the downtown Tampa area and all over the county.

Economic growth in South Florida is pushing many buyers towards Tampa as well. People are leaving the astronomical home prices and economic realities in Miami. There are other factors pushing people north from South Florida as well, including the hot market realities in Miami, Florida and the increasing risk of flooding and hurricanes that have plagued the lower peninsula of Florida in the last decade.

What’s driving the buyer’s market conditions?

This is driven by the historically low interest rates that have changed the shape of the rental market and Tampa’s housing market. The Tampa metro area is far from the most affordable cities in the United States.

These factors make Pinellas County a hot housing market with rising home prices. Tens of thousands of families are looking for homes in the area and are not able to find them in this seller’s market.

The housing prices in Tampa are also going higher because the job market is growing faster than the amount of available housing. Though home values are going up fast as well, this doesn’t help homeowners who are looking for a good value with a local realtor.

It’s a great time to buy in Tampa if you can

Tall buildings for sale near Tampa, FL

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Though all of these factors are making it so that cheaper homes are not available, buying a dream home in Tampa Heights or other areas around the city is still a good investment. It’s all about figuring out how to enter the market and make the most of the rising property values.

To get to those real estate and home sales goals, home buyers have to find out what steps they need to take in order to find the right home for them in the Tampa metro area.

Curious about how to get there? Here’s all of the insider information to make it work when you’re trying to buy a home in Tampa.

1 – Figuring out what budget you need to buy a Tampa Bay home

With home values constantly going up in Hillsborough County and Pinellas County, real estate budgeting is no easy thing. Interest rates are fluctuating right now too, which is affecting both home sales and rental property.

The best way to figure out what you can afford is to use the 28/36 rule that is the gold standard in financial lending. Home costs, whether for rental property or a mortgage, should not be more than 28% of your monthly income. All in, your debt payments should not be more than 36% of your monthly income.

When working with a mortgage lender or a bank for a home loan, keep these real estate numbers in mind. How much house you can afford in Tampa will help make your house hunt so much easier.

To make the calculation of how much you’re likely to be able to get a loan for, multiply your monthly income by .28 – this will give you exactly how much house you can afford.

2 – Consider all of the costs in a home payment in Tampa Bay

Home interior in Tampa, FL

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Don’t forget to add all of the things that are included in a home payment in your calculations. this means homeowner’s insurance, interest, property taxes, required HOA fees, and principal payments.

One of the most striking things about Tampa is just how high those HOA fees are. Compared to the rest of the country, Tampa has huge costs from homeowner’s associations! In fact, Tampa HOA fees tend to run up to almost half of the total cost of the mortgage total! This is much higher than real estate in other places, even in Florida.

Most of these fees are on older homes, which tend to have much higher HOA fees than newer builds. Tampa in particular has a large number of older houses compared to real estate in other parts of Florida.

It’s not just HOA fees that are higher in Tampa than they are elsewhere. Hurricane season lasts for half of the year in Tampa, and the proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and the beaches means that flooding during that long hurricane season is more likely.

Not only that, but the older homes in Tampa also carry higher insurance rates. Overall, Tampa homeowners pay almost twice the national average in homeowner’s insurance premiums.

If you’re buying a house in Tampa, you may want to consider buying flood insurance for those long hurricane seasons. This will likely raise the yearly homeowner’s insurance premium by around a third, but it’s money well spent in the case that a hurricane does hit the area.

3 – Know what home prices to expect when buying a house in Tampa

If you’re buying a house in the Tampa Bay real estate arena, you’ll want to know how much you can expect to pay for real estate. This will let you gauge what property you can afford before you start talking to real estate agents.

In 2022, the median price for residential real estate for sale in Tampa is $348,000. This is up fifteen percent over 2021, though it’s still only a thousand dollars higher than the median home price across the United States. That’s a good number to know, because it means that even though Tampa real estate is going up a lot, if you’re selling your home in another part of the country to move to Tampa, you’ll likely be able to finance the real estate deal from your previous home sale.

Though the average listing in Tampa, FL is $348,000, the average sale price of a home in Tampa is actually $415,500. That’s a huge jump! This is because home sellers in Tampa are receiving so many offers for houses that the final sales price is driven up much higher than the listing price.

This is a critical piece of information for people who want to buy a house in Tampa. If you go in and make an offer that’s at the top end of the mortgage that you qualify for, you’re likely to get out bid on that piece of property on Tampa St. or in Sun Bay South.

To be successful in buying real estate in Tampa, take the approach of making a first offer that is well below the amount that you have on your mortgage loan. You need to be able to leverage up from the original sale offer that you make.

Average sales price is an important number for any potential home buyer to know when trying to buy a house anywhere, but in this market it’s even more important.

The median home prices in other major Florida markets are as follows. Seeing these numbers can help you better understand how the median sales price in Tampa compares.

  • Lutz – $445,000
  • Land O’Lakes – $407,000
  • Dunedin – $387,000
  • Hillsborough County – $350,000
  • Pinellas County – $350,000
  • St. Petersburg – $335,000
  • Clearwater – $325,000

Note that all of these are less than what the average home in Tampa is going for, with the exception of Lutz. If you are looking for a home in the Tampa metro area but don’t need to be right in the city on Tampa St., you might consider looking at one of these outlying areas.

4 – Get pre-approved if you can

Home interior in Tampa, FL

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In the market that’s this tight, there are only two ways that you’ll be competitive as a buyer.

  1. Get pre-approved for a home loan
  2. Pay cash for a home sale

There are so many qualified buyers who are ready to pay over market value for homes in Tampa right now that no one is going to be competitive on a home deal without having either a preapproval or cash on hand. There’s just no way to do this otherwise.

First time homebuyers in Tampa Bay should have good credit or a larger down payment if they want to prequalify for a traditional home loan. There are lots of great programs for first time homebuyers that will support you if you don’t have these two qualifications.

The City of Tampa in particular offers a robust range of first time homebuyer programs, but it also offers a lot of programs for people who have already owned a home. Here are five that are well established and are great resources for anyone looking for a home in Hillsborough County or Pinellas County.

  1. Mortgage Credit Certificate or MCC
    This housing assistance program will give new homeowners in Tampa a fifty percent tax credit on mortgage interest annually. It’s done through the Housing Finance Authority of Hillsborough Co., and it’s well worth investigating for both new homeowners and if you’ve owned a home before in Florida or elsewhere.
  2. Home Sweet Home Hillsborough Program
    This is for second mortgages, and it’s a fantastic program in Tampa. This second mortgage program gives homeowners up to ten thousand dollars that will either go to the down payment on the home or the closing costs. That’s a huge chunk of the sales process, and for potential Tampa homeowners it can tip the scale in this tight housing market.
  3. East Tampa CRA Down Payment Assistance
    This program is for renters in the Tampa area, helping them to transition from renting a home to owning one. Any renter who is trying to buy a home in East Tampa can apply to get up to fifty thousand dollars in support for their home purchase.
  4. Dare to Own the Dream (DARE)
    A program from the City of Tampa, DARE is a way for potential homeowners in the city to get support beyond the typical value of a first time home loan. DARE offers down payment support of up to forty thousand dollars in the form of a second mortgage. Here’s the amazing part – this money comes with $0 in monthly payments and 0% interest.
  5. City of Tampa Mortgage Assistance Program
    For homes that are within the city limits of Tampa, the Mortgage Assistance Program can help out with a loan for a downpayment of up to $15,000. That’s a huge number given the tightness of the housing market in Downtown Tampa.

These programs that help homeowners get into the house that will work for them in Tampa are an added benefit that makes buying in Tampa Bay much more reasonable for many potential homeowners.

5 – Finding a great neighborhood in Tampa Bay, FL

Kitchen in a Tampa, FL home

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Though price reductions are unlikely in the Tampa housing market, there are lots of ways for you to make the most of your home search in Tampa. One of the best ways is to learn about the neighborhoods around the metro area and find the place that fits you best.

Finding an area of the city that works for you and your budget might take some leg work or working with a local agent, but it’s a key component to getting a house in Tampa. Here are some top neighborhoods for Tampa homebuyers to look at.

  • Downtown Tampa
    The beautiful Tampa skyline isn’t visible from the condos downtown, but it’s incredibly convenient to live in the not-too-busy but still bustling downtown section of the city.
  • West Meadows
    Located in Northeast Tampa, this is a master planned community with integrated services. It’s a highly sought after area of Tampa for good reason.
  • Tampa Palms
    In New Tampa, this is a higher end neighborhood with highly ranked schools and lot sof local shopping
  • Davis Islands
    This exclusive part of the city has a price tag to match the beauty of its older homes, but it’s also well worth looking into for the historic nature of the old properties.
  • South Tampa
    Though this is an historic part of the city, it’s beloved by young families and professionals thanks to its accessibility and eclectic mix of restaurants and shopping.

These are just some of the best neighborhoods in the Tampa area. Hyde Park, Davis Islands, and Land-O-Lakes are some other expensive neighborhoods that might just have your dream home within them. Narrowing down potential Tampa homes that are close to job opportunities without having higher prices is the key to finding the right house in this market.

Takeaways about the Tampa, FL real estate market

Tampa, FL home for sale

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Though there are seasonal fluctuations in home prices in general, in the current Tampa Bay housing market, the best price is going to keep going a little higher.

In the last year, the median number of days that a home stays on the market in Tampa is just eleven days! Whether you’re a first time buyer or are selling your previous home to buy a new one, you’ll want to make sure that you’re on your game to get the home that will work for you.

Almost one in three Tampa home sales is a cash deal. Forty percent of homes in the Tampa Bay area sell over list price.

With all of this in mind, the most important thing for you to do if you’re on the hunt for a home in Tampa Bay is to prepare yourself by learning about the market. The more educated you are about the Tampa real estate market, the easier it will be for you to navigate the hot real estate market in this area.

Real Estate Market Update: September 2022

Real Estate Market Update: September 2022

real estate market update house for fall

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The weather is cooling and so is the market

At the beginning of the year, the U.S. housing market saw historically low interest rates and high demand for houses, creating a seller’s market. New data is now suggesting that the market is beginning to cool down, just in time for fall. 

According to the National Association of Realtors, home sales in July of 2022 were down almost 6% from June, making it the sixth consecutive month of decline. Even more astounding is that home sales were down 20.2% from the same time as last year. 

Other factors that have caused a cool down in the market can be contributed to the average interest rate sitting at just under 6% and the median price of a home being $403,800. However, this is down $10,000 from last month. The sharp rise in home prices is up almost 11% from this time last year. 

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence stated, “Home sales may soon stabilize since mortgage rates have fallen…thereby giving an additional boost of purchasing power to home buyers.” 

Although home sales and home building are declining, the same cannot be said for home prices. “Inventory remains tight and prices continue to rise nationally with nearly 40% of homes still commanding the full list price,” stated Yun. 

This is not all bad news for homebuyers. While home prices continue to rise in many markets across the country, housing inventory is marginally rising. The National Association of  Realtors estimates that the total housing inventory in July was 1.31 million units, an increase of 4.8% from June.

Homes are still selling fast though, with the average property remaining on the market for 14 days

Homebuyers are starting to become more cautious when considering purchasing a new home. With interest rates being almost double they were at the beginning of of the year, some buyers cannot qualify for loans or afford the higher rates associated with the interest rate. However, according to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate was 5.41% in July, down from 5.52% in June. 

As the market continues to cool down, buyers might see favorable conditions again. Potential buyers searching for a home could expect less competition when making offers and more homes to choose from. Contingencies might also be accepted again, leading to a more balanced market. 

The bottom line is that mortgage rates have dropped marginally, inventory has increased slightly, and buyers should continue to be cautious and patient when purchasing a new home. 

Virtual property? Real estate in the Metaverse

virtual real estate

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As a kid, we probably envisioned our futures much like The Jetsons with flying cars and houses that appear like skyscrapers out of the clouds. While we still might be a long way off from flying cars, real estate is starting to thrive in the metaverse. 

In the metaverse, the engaging and fascinating virtual world universe, investors are starting to buy up virtual real estate. The metaverse provides a virtual reality where we can live, work, and play with others. If you’ve ever wanted to live next door to a celebrity like Snopp Dogg, virtual real estate is your chance. 

Companies like Facebook (known now as Meta) are helping to spark interest in owning property in the virtual world. Virtual real estate is growing so rapidly, Technavio Research says the virtual real estate market is expected to grow by $5.37 billion through 2026.

Why Invest in Virtual Real Estate? 

Technology and our digital world will continue to grow and because of this, investors are hoping virtual real estate will be a good investment. The property, or parcel, you own in the digital world can be used for a myriad of purposes. 

Depending on the type of virtual real estate you purchase, you can design and build structures, host interactive experiences like concerts and games, or even turn it into a marketplace to sell any assets. 

Reader’s Digest states, “Owning digital real estate effectively gives you a place in the metaverse that you can call home.” The metaverse allows you to meet and interact with other players, which could leverage itself into buying, selling, or trading digital real estate just like you do in the real world. 

How Do I Buy Metaverse Real Estate? 

In order to purchase virtual real estate, you will need to do the following:

  1. Create a digital wallet to hold your cryptocurrency. Make sure to keep your wallet’s secret keys and passwords in a safe place and never share them with anyone else. Also be mindful of the type of cryptocurrency your platform (where you purchase your virtual real estate) accepts. 
  2. Research virtual real estate by looking at several different platforms and viewing the market prices available in those platforms. Some platforms are The Sandbox, Decentraland, and Voxels. While most of these platforms are suitable for gamers, you do not have to play games in order to invest in virtual real estate.
  3. Once you’ve found a parcel of virtual land you want to invest in, purchase enough cryptocurrency to keep in your wallet. After you’ve purchased your virtual real estate, you will receive an NFT of your metaverse property. 

Just like with buying and selling real estate in the real world, metaverse real estate can also have risks. Because the metaverse is still in the early stages, there is room for growth which could lead to potential gains in the future. However, digital properties and cryptocurrency values are constantly changing. Make sure to do plenty of research if you are looking to take the leap into virtual real estate. 

Taking Control of Your Yard Before Putting Your House on the Market

homeowner preparing landscaping for home sale

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We’ve all heard the saying “First impressions matter” when meeting someone new, but did you know the same applies to your house? The landscaping of your home can influence potential buyers’ opinions since it is the first view they have when looking at your property.

If you’re about to list your home, enhancing your curb appeal will not only make your home more attractive to potential buyers, but it could also add value to your home

Before putting your home on the market, consider some of these tips.

  • Add or Replenish Any Mulch in Your Landscape Beds

Landscape beds offer a great chance to increase your home’s curb appeal by drawing attention to potential buyers. Enhancing the appearance of your landscape beds can make a huge difference, especially if you add or replace the mulch. 

Mulch comes in a variety of types that can fit the aesthetic of your yard: straw, wood chips, shredded bark, and more. The color and type of mulch you use can contrast any surrounding plants and flowers and make everything stand out more. Mulch also has several positive aspects as it’s relatively cheap, easy to apply, and offers health benefits to your plants. 

  • Incorporate Colorful Flowers in Your Landscape Beds

Adding colorful flowers to your landscape beds can also make your yard stand out against others. Consider planting seasonal flowers in your landscape beds before listing your property. Some seasonal flowers that are perfect for fall are mums, sunflowers, and black-eyed Susans.

  • Trim Trees and Bushes

Make sure potential buyers can actually see your home by trimming any trees and bushes. This will also allow more light into your home. Trimming any dead branches and shaping up bushes will show your yard is well-maintained. 

If you have any small plants in your landscape beds, consider trimming them as well. Doing so will eliminate overgrowth and help keep them in their intended shape. Keeping your landscape beds edged will also give off a clean appearance. 

  • Clean Water Features

Decorative water features can certainly draw attention to potential buyers. Make sure to keep the water clean and scrub off any visible algae, remove any dead leaves or debris, and replace the filter if available. 

  • Fix Irrigation Issues

Fixing any existing issues with your irrigation system will help potential buyers. While it can be costly, knowing there aren’t any problems will put potential buyers at ease. Make sure to provide them with any instructions on the system.

  • Powerwash Dirty Areas

If the exterior of your home has any paved walkways, fences, vinyl, or brick it might be worth your time and money to power wash this areas to make them look brand new. 

  • Maintain Your Lawn

One of the best ways to take control of your yard is to maintain your lawn. Keep the yard mowed and weeds pulled to maintain an attractive appearance and desirability of your home. 

Remember that first impressions are everything and curb appeal is what potential buyers notice first when looking at homes. 

Five Incredible Southeast Cities for Millennial Homebuyers

millenial exploring asheville, NC

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Millennial homebuyers looking for southern charm and hospitality can easily find them in cities like Raleigh, Asheville, Franklin, Savannah, and Richmond. Each is unique and has a distinct appeal. The biggest challenge will be choosing which one to explore!

  1. Raleigh, NC

With its diverse neighborhoods, history, great schools (Duke, UNC, and NC State), and job growth North Carolina’s capital city offers something for all millennial homebuyers. 

If you love visiting museums, Raleigh boasts three free, state funded options – the NC Museum of Art, the NC Museum of History, and the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. Raleigh is also home to several live music venues for small or large audiences, bringing in various types of entertainment for all crowds. 

Sporting events also play a major role in the lifestyle of Raleigh residents. There are plenty of games to choose from with the surrounding universities, not to mention Raleigh is home to NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes

There are also plenty of dining, shopping, and outdoor activities throughout the City of Oaks, making this capital city an ideal place for millennials. 

  1. Asheville, NC

Nestled in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville is a city that gives off a small town vibe with all the amenities one would need. Asheville’s downtown is known for its restaurants, art galleries, and shops with many events happening throughout the year. 

If you’re a self-proclaimed beer enthusiast, Asheville is indeed the place for you with more breweries per capita than anywhere in the U.S. Outdoor adventurists can also revel in the many hiking and biking trails in the area with Pisgah National Forest nearby. You can also enjoy a scenic drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway or tour America’s largest home, the Biltmore

If you’re looking for a city that’s animal friendly and full of culture, Asheville is the place for you! 

  1. Franklin, TN

Located 20 miles from Nashville, Franklin, TN is an idyllic city bustling with a vibrant downtown and economic growth. Home to many health-care businesses and corporate headquarters such as Mitsubushi Motors and Nissan, Franklin continues to see a job market increase which is good news for millennial homebuyers. 

Residents in Franklin enjoy exploring The Factory, a former stove factory, that houses local shops, eateries, and entertainment. There are also plenty of historical and cultural sites to explore ranging from historic homes to farms to beautiful architecture in the downtown area. 

  1. Savannah, GA

Savannah is a charismatic southern city with tons of history and activities. It’s also an incredibly walkable city, making errands a breeze. If you value one-of-a-kind homes, Savannah has plenty of historic properties with stunning Greek or Gothic details. 

Living in Savannah also has the benefit of being near the coast. For those who enjoy watersports or recreational activities near the beach, look no further! The art scene is also impressive with nearby Savannah College of Art and Design

  1. Richmond, VA

Another capital city on the list is Richmond,VA. With its cobblestone streets and history at every corner, Richmond is full of amazing restaurants, museums, and its proximity to D.C. makes for fun weekend trips. 

Richmond is a dynamic city with amazing views of the James River. It’s also home to several universities like VCU and The University of Richmond, providing the city with diverse neighborhoods full of cool shops and entertainment venues. 

Wild Homes: The Shire on the Lake

hwild homes hobbit house in Michiganobbit house in Michigan

Image via Berkshire Hathaway Home Services

If you’ve ever thought about living like a hobbit but won’t be able to jet out to New Zealand anytime soon, The Thatch House in Charlevoix, Michigan might be the spot for you. Unlike a typical hobbit hole, though, this “mushroom house” marries cozy comfort with modern luxury. 

The charming villa boasts six bedrooms and five bathrooms and includes some unique amenities, including a sitting area with a view of Lake Michigan, right across the street. With a home theater, several fireplaces, and a large dining room table, The Thatch House is a great space for entertaining – whether it’s invited friends or a horde of hungry dwarves brought upon by a wizard with a quest.

wild homes hobbit house in Michigan

Image via Berkshire Hathaway Home Services

The original builder is nearly as fascinating as the home itself. Earl Young didn’t use blueprints; instead, he took inspiration from the surroundings, both for the shape of the home and for the building materials. He inspired a series of “mushroom houses”, although The Thatch House was his first home and didn’t fully encompass this whimsical, fantasy style until its redesign by Michael Seitz. 

wild homes hobbit house in Michigan

Image via Berkshire Hathaway Home Services

If the main house isn’t reminiscent enough like a Hobbiton for your tastes, there’s an accompanying chalet with one master bedroom and a loft with twin beds that mirrors the style of The Thatch House: lots of exposed stone with rustic wood furnishings. 

The Thatch House is within easy walking distance of several other mushroom houses, so those with an interest in quirky architecture may enjoy one of the several walking tours available. It’s also within a few steps of the sandy beach shores of Lake Michigan and a scant five minutes from downtown shopping, as well as the local marina. 

wild homes hobbit house in Michigan

Image via Berkshire Hathaway Home Services

If you ever find yourself in Charlevoix, a few hours northwest of Detroit, The Thatch House may be worth a visit. If you’re lucky, you might even be invited in for a second breakfast. 

The Slowing Real Estate Market’s Effect on Small Businesses

business owner housing market

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Although it might be obvious that large construction companies would be in less demand with new home construction declining, some consumers may not be aware of the significant impact the downturn in the real estate industry has had on their local small businesses. 

The US housing market finally began to slow down in May after two years of unprecedented rapid growth. By June, the typical US family could only afford about 43% of the new homes being built. In July, new home sales had decreased to 2016 levels. Even existing homes are down almost 6%, at the lowest level in two years, while the prices have continued to increase.

The Federal Reserve, voicing concerns about inflation, began to increase interest rates in the hopes of avoiding a recession, upping the rate by .75% in June. This increased cost in borrowing money likely tamped down potential homebuyers’ desires for bigger and better real estate. The days of buyers going under contract sight unseen are waning, and this creates a ripple across the home-building and renovation industries

As the housing market cools, homeowners have less incentive to renovate and improve their homes. Coupled with this, inflation is causing the costs and availability of materials to increase dramatically. Over the past year, construction businesses have seen some materials costs jump as much as 200%, and the average year-over-year increase may be as much as a 20% increase. These twin factors have caused a perfect storm for hesitancy among homeowners looking to renovate, buy, or build. 

This cooling off of interest in construction has recently been dubbed a “housing recession”. Builders, landscapers, and other small businesses related to improving homes for sale have had to lower prices in order to keep customers on their books, and their confidence in the market is taking a hit. Builder confidence has fallen every month in 2022, and is now below the 50-point mark into negative territory. The last time this measure wasn’t positive was June of 2014. 

So, what are small construction businesses doing while facing down the possibility of a market that may continue to decline into 2023? One option is changing the type of work that is the focus of their activity. Bill Albritton of Albritton Custom Carpentry in Charlotte, North Carolina is now doing more “kitchen facelifts”, a service that costs significantly less than installing custom cabinets from scratch. 

Another choice small construction companies might make to remain competitive with large firms that offer comprehensive building and remodeling services is to join up with complementary businesses to offer consumers more value. A landscaping company could join forces with a woodworker to design and create a new deck and custom patio with the shade trees and soft grass the client desires. Innovative connections like these may be the best way for small businesses to thrive during a housing market in decline. 

For those businesses watching housing prices and the costs of building materials closely, the recent downturn might be concerning. Those creative business owners who find new ways to generate a steady income stream are likely to be the ones best able to weather the storm. 

What Investors need to know about Opportunity Zones

home investor looking into opportunity zones

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Back in 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was designed to create jobs and develop communities. One element of the act was identifying areas that needed more attention for economic growth; these are dubbed “opportunity zones”. In order to incentivize investment in these areas, the Department of the Treasury has created some tax benefits for these qualified opportunity zones, or QOZs.

To invest in a QOZ, investors can participate in a qualified opportunity fund, or QOF. Most people could invest in an opportunity zone, but only those making over $200,000 per year or with a net worth over $1 million are eligible to invest in a qualified opportunity fund. Before diving in, investors should know about these kinds of investments.

The benefits of the QOZ are clear, as the QOF invests in the real estate and businesses in the zone, but what is the benefit to the taxpayer with their money in the QOF? For one thing, investors can defer tax on their capital gains by setting it up in a QOF, waiting up to five years to pay it. For taxpayers who hold their investment in a QOF for ten years, any of their investment gains will be totally tax free at the end of that period. 

Any real estate investment carries risks, but a knowledgeable investor who carefully reads the information detailing the expectations of a particular fund should be well-equipped to determine if it’s worth the risk. Another reason a taxpayer may not want to take advantage of the tax benefits of a QOF is that some states don’t participate. So, an investor could still benefit from the federal tax deferral, but they’d be required to pay state tax. 

Eligible taxpayers should check with their tax and investment advisor to determine whether investing in a qualified opportunity zone would be beneficial to their portfolio. If deferring capital gains tax is of use, investing in an area struggling economically could be a way to do some good while reaping benefits for yourself. 

Why Tampa Bay is in the Top Ten Cities for Investors

Tampa Bay House for sale

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For three months in 2021, a quarter of home purchases were made by investors, not individual homeowners. Investor sales have gone up and back down since then, but investors are still almost 25% of the market as of the first quarter of 2022. So what makes the city so attractive?

As with most questions of real estate, a lot of Tampa’s appeal comes down to location, location, location. On Florida’s Gulf Coast, Tampa is a major port city and therefore attracts overseas investors who may want to control more aspects of their import business. Even if shipping isn’t your thing, Tampa is a relatively short drive from three international airports, so foreign business and tourism is easy to accommodate there. 

The infrastructure for business is robust here as well, with job growth continuing to rise, even when it’s slowing in other places. Travel and tourism is a major growth leader, of course, but Tampa has also seen expansion in tech, healthcare, and education. Plenty of jobs and housing prices expected to continue to grow for another year make this coastal city an ideal location for investment.

Many investors in Florida are paying cash for their properties, eliminating concerns about a mortgage and therefore mortgage interest. The local populace may actually appreciate some of the investment activity these days. Since the Federal Reserve has been increasing interest rates, some potential homebuyers are priced out of purchasing a home. Investors can offer rental properties at affordable rates until the market cools down enough. 

Population growth is another factor investors likely consider when looking at Hillsborough County. The population is forecast to grow 3.3% each year over the next few years, and the population tends to come from a wide array of backgrounds. Many Tampa inhabitants are multilingual, with residents from over 130 nationalities.

With rivers, beaches, and virtually no days without sun, Tampa can be a very desirable location for investors looking to rent out properties to sun-seekers. Economic growth indicators are still favorable in this part of Florida, so whether investors are in it for business or pleasure – or the business of pleasure – they are likely to be able to find something that will suit their needs in Tampa. 

Should I build a tiny house on my land in North Carolina?

This section includes real questions from real homesellers, plus our answers. 

tiny house in North Carolina

Image by Jed Owen via Unsplash

Dear Connect,

I’m considering building a tiny house on a piece of land I inherited near Raleigh, NC. Right now, the piece of property is sitting empty, but I think I can do more with it. I came close to selling it last year, but ultimately sentimentality won out. These three acres were owned by my uncle, who left them to me when he passed away two years ago. There’s a little pond on the edge that I remember him taking me fishing in when I was a kid. 

The Triangle is constantly growing, and this property is near Knightdale. When we used to fish there decades ago, it was out in the middle of nowhere. Now there are developments everywhere around it and the location is more or less considered to be “in town” now. 

Though I don’t want to sell it because it’s an inherited property, I don’t want to do anything with it. I’m thinking I could build a tiny house on it for little money, overlooking the pond, then do short term rentals so that my extended family and I can come rent it as a way to remember him. 

Is this even a good idea? I’ve done lots of research into tiny houses, but I can’t seem to find out if this would be a wise investment. 

– Fishing for advice in Raleigh

First off, let me offer my condolences on your uncle’s passing. Losing a loved one is never easy, and you’re clearly trying to preserve a piece of him with this transaction. That’s worth doing. Given that you own land in North Carolina, and particularly given that it’s somewhere in demand like Raleigh, NC, a tiny home is certainly a viable option. Let’s look at the benefits and the pitfalls of building a tiny house on your land.

One of the first considerations should be about infrastructure: what do you want, and what is available? If the impetus behind building a tiny home is to save on construction costs, you may reconsider if you’ll have to pay for new sewer, water, electricity, and internet to what might be a rural area. If you build something that is “off the grid” or make use of a septic system rather than city sewer, the costs will be lower. The flipside is that the value will also be considerably lower, both in terms of rental and resale.  

Although tiny homes are legal in North Carolina, some places have more restrictions than others, including whether or not the home can be on wheels. You’ll definitely want to look into what the codes are in Knightdale. 

Tiny homes can be a great entry point for a more sustainable, less cluttered lifestyle. In your case, it would allow you to preserve the land and legacy of your family while still improving the property. The tiny home community is also highly connected and will offer you a good place to go for support as you work to market it as a rental. Be sure to look into the hidden costs of building and maintaining a tiny home on your property, but it’s absolutely worth investing in. Good luck!