Gulf Coast Real Estate and Community News

Thank you for joining me on this journey to explore the Gulf of Mexico beaches and communities! Whether you are a resident, planning a visit, or simply have a love for this beautiful area, I am here to share my knowledge and insights gained from over 30 years as a resident and Realtor.

Throughout our discussions, we will delve into a wide range of topics including events, restaurants, recipes, local issues, investment opportunities, resort and vacation ideas, and more. Whether you want to know about the best spots to dine in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Perdido Key, Pensacola, Pensacola Beach, and Navarre, or are interested in staying up to date with the latest news from our communities, this is the place to be.

Collage Gulf Coast

Living in this area has given me a deep appreciation for the Gulf coasts of Florida and Alabama, and I am excited to share that passion with all of you. Whether you are seeking information on the best places to visit, fun recommendations for activities, or insights into the real estate market, I am here to provide you with the knowledge and expertise you need.

Make sure to check back regularly to stay informed about the latest happenings and developments in our communities. I look forward to sharing this journey with you and providing you with valuable information about the Gulf of Mexico beaches and towns.

You can get reach me at pete@perdidopete.com or get details on the real estate market by going to my web site https://www.teamperdido.com

Or call me direct at +1 (850) 261-3938

June 3, 2024

More than a house

More Than a House: The Emotional Benefits of Homeownership




With all the headlines and talk about housing affordability, it can be tempting to get lost in the financial side of buying a home. That’s only natural as you think about the dollars and cents of it all.

And while you ultimately need to be able to afford a home you buy, don’t lose sight of why homeownership was so important to you in the first place. That’s because buying a home is so much more than just a financial transaction. As the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says:

“The benefits of purchasing and owning your place of residence are both financial and emotional – pride in homeownership and the feeling of security are huge intangible benefits.”

Here’s a look at just a few of those more emotional or lifestyle perks, to help anchor you to why homeownership is one of your goals.

A Sense of Satisfaction

Owning a home is often associated with better mental health and well-being. That’s probably because buying a home is a big milestone. And the sense of satisfaction and pride that comes with achieving that goal just feels good. A recent article from the Mortgage Reports says:

“By and large, homeownership brings more satisfaction than renting. . . Surveyees scored the overall happiness level of homeowners at 88% compared to 67% for renters.”

More Stability for Your Family

Another thing that may make homeowners feel more satisfied is that they’re finally able to put down roots. Think about it. If you’re used to moving each time your lease renews and your rent climbs, staying put for a while would be nice not just for you, but for any loved ones that live with you.

A home can provide more predictability and the chance to make long-term friends. That should reduce everyone’s stress too. As NAR explains:

“Families also benefit from homeownership, with studies proving that parents are able to spend less time in a stressed state, therefore spending more time with their children. The ability for parents to feel stable has a huge impact on children’s behavioral issues, educational success, and future economic success.”

A Stronger Feeling of Community

And if you’re also looking for a sense of belonging for yourself, homeownership can help with that too. As FinHabits says:

“Homeowners tend to be more involved in their local communities, leading to a stronger sense of belonging . . .”

It makes sense. Your home connects you to your neighborhood and, by extension, your broader community. That’s because owning a home gives you a stake in that community’s future. So, becoming more involved and wanting to do what you can to help improve the area while making long-term relationships with neighbors is only natural.

The Ability To Make the Space Your Own

And don’t forget, your home is a place that’s all yours. Unless you’ve got specific homeowner’s association requirements, you’re free to customize it however you see fit.

So, if renting has been cramping your style, it’s time to express yourself and jump on the latest trends (if you want to). Whether that’s small home improvements or full-on renovations, your house can be exactly what you want and need it to be. And as your tastes and lifestyle change, so can your home. Picture coming home each day to a place that feels like you. That’s a feeling like no other. 

Bottom Line

If you want to enjoy a sense of accomplishment and pride in where you’re living, let’s have a conversation to go over what you need to do now to make this future happen for you.

Posted in Homeownership
May 31, 2024

Why Own

Top Reasons To Own a Home




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Some Highlights

  • Buying a home has powerful financial and non-financial benefits. It creates more stability, helps grow your net worth, and gives you an undeniable sense of pride.
  • While today’s market can be challenging for buyers, use these reasons to remind you of why homeownership is so worthwhile.
  • When you’re ready to enjoy all the amazing advantages that come with owning a home, let’s get in touch.
May 30, 2024

Buyers' Mistakes

The Biggest Mistakes Buyers Are Making Today




Buyers face challenges in any market – and today’s is no different. With higher mortgage rates and rising prices, plus the limited supply of homes for sale, there’s a lot to consider.

But, there's one way to avoid getting tripped up – and that’s leaning on a real estate agent for the best possible advice. An expert’s insights will help you avoid some of the most common mistakes homebuyers are making right now.

Putting Off Pre-approval

As part of the homebuying process, a lender will look at your finances to figure out what they’re willing to loan you for your mortgage. This gives you a good idea of what you can borrow so you can really wrap your head around the financial side of things before you start looking at homes. While house hunting can be a lot more fun than talking about finances, you don’t want to do this out of order. Make sure you get your pre-approval first. As CNET explains:

“If you wait to get preapproved until the last minute, you might be scrambling to contact a lender and miss the opportunity to put a bid on a home.”

Holding Out for Perfection

While you may have a long list of must-haves and nice-to-haves, you need to be realistic about your home search. Even though your ideal state is you find a home that checks every box, you may need to be willing to compromise – especially since inventory is still low. Plus, a home that has everything you want may be too pricey. As Investopedia puts it:

When you expect to find the perfect home, you could prolong the homebuying process by holding out for something better. Or you could end up paying more for a home just because it meets all your needs.”

Instead, look for something that has most of your must-haves and good bones where you can add anything else you may need down the line.

Buying More House Than You Can Afford

With today’s mortgage rates and home prices, there’s no arguing it’s expensive to buy a home. And while it may be tempting to stretch your finances a bit further than you’re comfortable with to make sure you get the house, you want to avoid overextending your budget. Make sure you talk to your agent about how changing mortgage rates impact your monthly payment. Bankrate offers this advice:

“Focus on what monthly payment you can afford rather than fixating on the maximum loan amount you qualify for. Just because you can qualify for a $300,000 loan doesn’t mean you can comfortably handle the monthly payments that come with it along with your other financial obligations. Every borrower’s case is different, so factor in your whole financial profile when determining how much house you can afford.”

Not Working with a Local Real Estate Agent

This last one may be the most important of all. Buying a home is a process that involves a lot of steps, paperwork, negotiation, and more. Rather than take all of this on yourself, it’s a good idea to have a pro working with you. The right agent will reduce your stress and help the process go smoothly. As CNET explains:

Attempting to buy a home without a real estate agent makes the process more arduous than it needs to be. A real estate agent can give you professional legal guidance, market expertise and support, which will save you time, money and stress. They can also increase your chances of finding the right home so you don’t have to spend hours scouring the internet for listings.”  

Bottom Line

Mistakes can cost you time, frustration, and money. If you want to buy a home in today’s market, let’s connect so you have a pro on your side who can help you avoid these missteps.

May 27, 2024

VA Veterans' Administration Loans

How VA Loans Can Help You Buy a Home




For over 80 years, Veterans Affairs (VA) home loans have helped millions of veterans buy their own homes. If you or someone you know has served in the military, it's important to learn about this program and its benefits.

Here are some key things to know about VA loans before buying a home.

Top Benefits of VA Home Loans

VA home loans make it easier for veterans to buy a home, and they're a great perk for those who qualify. According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, some benefits include:

  • Options for No Down Payment: Qualified borrowers can often purchase a home with no down payment. That’s a huge weight lifted when you’re trying to save for a home. The Associated Press says:
“. . . about 90% of VA loans are used to purchase a home with no money down.”
  • Don’t Require Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI): Many other loans with down payments under 20% require PMI. VA loans do not, which means veterans can save on their monthly housing costs.
  • Limited Closing Costs: There are limits on the types of closing costs you pay when you qualify for a VA home loan. So, more money stays in your pocket when it’s time to seal the deal.

An article from Veterans United sums up how remarkable this loan can be:

“For the vast majority of military borrowers, VA loans represent the most powerful lending program on the market. These flexible, $0-down payment mortgages have helped more than 24 million service members become homeowners since 1944.”

Bottom Line

Owning a home is the American Dream. Veterans give a lot to protect our country, and one way to honor them is by making sure they know about VA home loans.

May 24, 2024

Pricing to sell

Your Agent Is the Key To Pricing Your House Right [INFOGRAPHIC]




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Some Highlights

  • The asking price for your house can impact your bottom line and how quickly it sells.
  • Both under- and overpricing have drawbacks. So to find the right price for your house, lean on your agent for their expertise.
  • Don’t pick just any price for your listing. Trust your real estate professional to help you find the perfect price for your house.
May 23, 2024

Sellers' Questions

Questions You May Have About Selling Your House




There’s no denying mortgage rates are having a big impact on today’s housing market. And that may leave you with some questions about whether it still makes sense to sell your house and make a move.

Here are three of the top questions you may be asking – and the data that helps answer them.

1. Should I Wait To Sell?

If you’re thinking about waiting to sell until after mortgage rates come down, here’s what you need to know. So are a ton of other people.

And while mortgage rates are still forecasted to come down later this year, if you wait for that to happen, you may be dealing with a lot more competition as other buyers and sellers jump back in too. As Bright MLS says:

“Even a modest drop in rates will bring both more buyers and more sellers into the market.”

That means if you wait it out, you’ll have to deal with things like prices rising faster and more multiple-offer scenarios when you buy your next home.

2. Are Buyers Still Out There?

But that doesn’t mean no one is moving right now. While some people are holding off, there are still plenty of buyers active today. And here’s the data to prove it.

The ShowingTime Showing Index is a measure of how frequently buyers are touring homes. The graph below uses that index to show buyer activity for March (the latest data available) over the past seven years:No Caption Received

 

You can see demand has dipped some since the ‘unicorn’ years (shown in pink). That’s in response to a lot of market factors, like higher mortgage rates, rising prices, and limited inventory. But, to really understand today’s demand, you have to compare where we are now with the last normal years in the market (2018-2019) – not the abnormal ‘unicorn’ years. 

When you focus on just the blue bars, you can get an idea of how 2024 stacks up. And that gives you a whole new perspective.

Nationally, demand is still high compared to the last normal years in the housing market (2018-2019). And that means there’s still a market for your house to sell.

3. Can I Afford To Buy My Next Home?

And if you’re worried about how you’ll afford your next move with today’s rates and prices, consider this: you probably have more equity in your current home than you realize.

Homeowners have gained record amounts of equity over the past few years. And that equity can make a big difference when you buy your next home. You may even have enough to be an all-cash buyer and avoid taking out a mortgage altogether. As Jessica Lautz, Deputy Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

“ . . . those who have earned housing equity through home price appreciation are the current winners in today's housing market. One-third of recent home buyers did not finance their home purchase last month—the highest share in a decade. For these buyers, interest rates may be less influential in their purchase decisions.”

Bottom Line

If you’ve had these three questions on your mind and they’ve been holding you back from selling, hopefully, it helps to have this information now. A recent survey from Realtor.com shows more than 85% of potential sellers have been considering selling for over a year. That means there are a number of sellers like you who are on the fence.

But that same survey also talked to sellers who recently decided to take the plunge and list. And 79% of those recent sellers wish they’d sold sooner.

If you want to talk more about any of these questions or need more information, let’s connect.

May 20, 2024

Mortgage rates and home prices

What’s Next for Home Prices and Mortgage Rates?




If you’re thinking of making a move this year, there are two housing market factors that are probably on your mind: home prices and mortgage rates. You’re wondering what’s going to happen next. And if it’s worth it to move now, or better to wait it out.

The only thing you can really do is make the best decision you can based on the latest information available. So, here’s what experts are saying about both prices and rates.

1. What’s Next for Home Prices?

One reliable place you can turn to for information on home price forecasts is the Home Price Expectations Survey from Fannie Mae – a survey of over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists.

According to the most recent release, experts are projecting home prices will continue to rise at least through 2028 (see the graph below):

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While the percent of appreciation varies year-to-year, this survey says we’ll see prices rise (not fall) for at least the next 5 years, and at a much more normal pace.

What does that mean for your move? If you buy now, your home will likely grow in value and you should gain equity in the years ahead. But, based on these forecasts, if you wait and prices continue to climb, the price of a home will only be higher later on. 

2. When Will Mortgage Rates Come Down?

This is the million-dollar question in the industry. And there’s no easy way to answer it. That’s because there are a number of factors that are contributing to the volatile mortgage rate environment we’re in. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, explains:

“Every month brings a new set of inflation and labor data that can influence the direction of mortgage rates. Ongoing inflation deceleration, a slowing economy and even geopolitical uncertainty can contribute to lower mortgage rates. On the other hand, data that signals upside risk to inflation may result in higher rates.”

What happens next will depend on where each of those factors goes from here. Experts are optimistic rates should still come down later this year, but acknowledge changing economic indicators will continue to have an impact. As a CNET article says:

“Though mortgage rates could still go down later in the year, housing market predictions change regularly in response to economic data, geopolitical events and more.”

So, if you’re ready, willing, and able to afford a home right now, partner with a trusted real estate advisor to weigh your options and decide what’s right for you. 

Bottom Line

Let’s connect to make sure you have the latest information available on home prices and mortgage rate expectations. Together we’ll go over what the experts are saying so you can make an informed decision on your move.

May 17, 2024

Rent or Buy

Should I Rent or Buy a Home?




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Some Highlights

  • While renting may be less expensive in some areas right now, there are two big benefits homeownership provides that renting can’t. ​
  • Owning a home means you get to say goodbye to rising rents and hello to stability. It also gives you the chance to gain equity as home values rise over time.
  • If you’re ready to learn more about the perks of owning a home, let’s chat. 
May 16, 2024

Inventory of homes

The Number of Homes for Sale Is Increasing




There’s no denying the last couple of years have been tough for anyone trying to buy a home because there haven’t been enough houses to go around. But things are starting to look up.

There are more homes up for grabs this year. The graph below uses the latest data from Realtor.com to show in April 2024 there were more homes for sale than there were over the last few years (2021-2023):

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As Realtor.com explains:

There were 30.4% more homes actively for sale on a typical day in April compared with the same time in 2023, marking the sixth consecutive month of annual inventory growth.”

But does this growing inventory make house hunting easier? Yes and no.

Using the latest weekly data from Calculated Risk, the graph below shows, that even with the growth lately, there are still way fewer homes for sale than there were in the last normal year in the housing market:

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What Does This Mean for You?

If you’ve been looking to buy but put your plans on hold because you just couldn’t find what you were searching for, you might see more options now than you did over the past few years – but don't expect a huge selection.

To check out your growing options, it's a good idea to work with a local real estate agent you trust. Real estate is all about location. And an agent can help you get the scoop on the homes available in the area you're interested in. Bankrate explains:

“In today’s homebuying market, it’s more important than ever to find a real estate agent who really knows your local area — down to your specific neighborhood — and can help you successfully navigate its unique quirks.”

Bottom Line

Let's team up so you have someone who can keep you in the loop on everything that might impact your move, like how many homes are up for sale right now.

May 15, 2024

Condo for 1st time homebuyers

Why a Condo May Be a Great Option for Your First Home




Having a hard time finding a first home that's right for you and your wallet? Well, here's a tip – think about condominiums, or condos for short.

They're usually smaller than single-family homes, but that's exactly why they can be easier on your budget. According to the latest data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), condos are typically less expensive than single-family homes (see graph below):

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So, if you're comfortable with a smaller space and want to buy your first home this year, adding condos to your search might be easier on your wallet.

Besides giving you more options for your home search and maybe fitting your budget better, living in a condo has a bunch of other perks, too. According to Rocket Mortgage:

“From community living to walkable urban areas, condos are great options for first-time home buyers and people looking to enjoy homeownership without extensive upkeep.”

Let’s dive into a few of the draws of condos for first-time buyers from Bankrate:

  • They require less maintenance. Condos are great if you want to own your place but don't want to mow the lawn, shovel snow, or fix the roof. Your real estate agent can help explain any associated fees and details for the condos you’re interested in.
  • They allow you to start building equity. When you buy a condo, you build equity and your net worth as you make your mortgage payments and as your condo’s value goes up over time.
  • They often come with added amenities. Your condo might come with access to amenities like a pool, dog park, or parking. And the best part? You don’t have to take care of any of them.
  • They provide you with a sense of community. Buying a condo means you'll be living close to other people, which is nice if you enjoy having neighbors around and making friends. Many condo communities hold fun events like barbecues and parties during holidays for everyone to enjoy.

 

Remember, your first home doesn't have to be the one you stay in forever. The important thing is to get your foot in the door as a homeowner so you can start to gain home equity. Later on, that equity can help you buy another place if you need something different.

Ultimately, owning and living in a condo is a lifestyle choice. And if it’s one that appeals to you, they could provide the added options you need in today’s market.

Bottom Line

It might be a good idea to think about condos in your home search. If you're ready to see what's out there, let's get in touch today.

Posted in Buying a Home