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Are there still tax benefits in buying in this economy?

by Justin Willard

If you are old enough to remember Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In… "You can bet your sweet bippy".Tax Benefits

OK, granted with the fall in the economy and house values dropping as they have done, certain areas of the tax code have become somewhat ineffectual for most people.  However, having said that, consider these points;

  1. The Purchase: Most of your expenses are not deductible with one major exception and that is interest.  The IRS says you can deduct interest in the year that it is paid.  If you purchase on any day other than the 1st of the month, you will be paying some interest.  Look at line 901 on your HUD Statement.  Further, the IRS says that loan discount points and origination fees are tax deductible to the buyer.  And here is the best part – irrespective of who pays!  This one is a real windfall and a bit unusual and unexpected.
  2. Mortgage Interest: Generally, this is deductible and in the beginning of your mortgage, your monthly repayment is largely interest, so this can start to add up over the year.  There is another deduction, but in the current economy, you may find it useful yet it is worthwhile noting for future years.  You can also claim a deduction for interest on an additional $100,000 of mortgage debt used for any purpose.  This is what's know as your Home Equity Loan and I probably don't need to explain to you why this one is a little redundant at the moment, so keep it in the back of your mind for later.
  3. The Sale: Here is the good news – couple's can sell their principal residence and earn up to $500,000 and pay no federal tax whatsoever (single's get $250,000)  And the bad news at the moment, in this economy that is not likely to help many people.  However, in time, as the economy recovers, this is another huge benefit of buying a home.  Most states recognize the federal exclusion, so you put the cash away tax-free.  You don't have to re-invest, you don't have to be age 55, and you can do this every two years forever.

Disclaimer: Please note, this is not meant as Tax or Financial advice and as always you should consult your Tax Professional before making any decisions.

Now that you have some ideas on what income tax advantages there might be for you, let's look at the market update for this month in Towngate.

Currently there are 19 active listings available for you to choose, ranging from very comfortable 3 bedroom homes up to spacious 5 bedroom homes.  On average, these homes are being offered at the $308,500 bracket giving you a $128 / sq ft price.  Knowing this square footage price is a great way to make estimates as a rule of thumb, but we at The Willard Realty Team are always available to help you work out the finer details.

Since January 1st there has been a total of 19 closings with an average sale price of $240,467.  The lowest selling property during this period sold for $165,375 while the top of the market closed at $328,000.  More recently, in the last 30 days, we have seen 7 closings and these have averaged a sale price of $241,071 showing very little movement in prices from the year to date figures.

Get ahead of the crowd - be the first to hear about new listings and sign up for our email service.  Let us do the work for you and keep you informed via email.  You can opt out at any time.  Or perhaps you are thinking of selling.  Then you will want an analysis of your approximate home value delivered direct to your inbox so you can make an informed decision.

Call now on (954) 745-4735 and speak with Justin or Claudia Willard for first hand advice.

Spring Valley School District

by Justin Willard

One of the nice things about moving to Spring Valley is the quality of our schools.  New homeowners with school-aged children will have the opportunity to enroll their children in Silver Palms Elementary, Walter C. Young Middle or Charles W. Flanagan High Schools.Silver Palms Elementary

Silver Palms Elementary is located at 1209 NW 155th Avenue and is already preparing for the end of school year on June 9th.  Being a forward thinking establishment, the school has implemented a summer program to bridge the learning gap between June and August.  They definitely live up to their mission statement "to involve and inspire the entire school community." 

If your child attends Walter C Young Middle School, you will have taken part in a Parental Survey.  This is an annual event and your responses help the school in the development of the School Improvement Plan.

And for our graduating students over at Charles W Flanagan High School, tomorrow night and next week are Awards nights in the Auditorium.

Underclass Awards Night May 17, 7.00pm and Senior Awards Night May 24, 7.00pm

 

If you are not already a homeowner in Spring Valley, you probably want to be so let's look at this month's market update.  The Spring Valley weather is perfect this time of year, so we invite you to come and inspect our listings.

Currently there are 14 available listings in Spring Valley of 3 and 4 bedroom homes.  These range in size from 1,637 to a roomy 3,014 sq ft.  The average asking price for these homes is $302,629.  That calculates out to an average of $136 / sq ft.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been 11 closings and average Days of Market is sitting at just slightly over 80 days.  These 3 and 4 bedroom homes have been closing with an average sale price of $254, 036.  However, in the last 30 days one property has closed with a sale price of $260,000 for a 4-bedroom home of 3.091 sq ft.

With these great prices and the amenities of the Spring Valley, it is no wonder More Americans Flock to the South and West

Do you have any questions or comments?  Come and join the conversation and 'like' our fan page on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Or, you can always contact Claudia Willard directly.

Call now - 954.745.4735

Be among the first to know when new homes hit the market!

Local Shopping Center and Mall

by Justin Willard

If you are out and about, enjoying the beautiful Pembroke lakes and now you would like to indulge in a little retail therapy that the City of Pembroke Pines has to offer, why not try The Shops at Pembroke Gardens.The Shops at Pembroke Gardens

The Shops at Pembroke Gardens is a distinctive open-air center offering unique shopping and dining.  As a resident or visitor to Pembroke Isles, it is conveniently located at Pines Boulevard.  There you will find notable retailers, including Ann Taylor Loft, Barnes & Noble, Sephora, and White House | Black Market, as well as restaurants such as BRIO Tuscan Grille and Village Tavern.

The Shops at Pembroke Gardens is located just east of I-75 in Pembroke Pines on 145th Avenue.  From the Club Pembroke Isles, via Pines Blvd it is less than 15 minutes away.

So, whether you are shopping for something at Pembroke Gardens or something a little larger like one of our featured properties for sale in our beautiful gated communities, we invite you to drop by our office.  We love to have visitors and we love to tell you about the current market not only in Pembroke Isles, but also in anyone of our communities.  We pride ourselves on being the local experts for the City of Pembroke Pines.

Reviewing last month's Market Update for Pembroke Pines, we see this month that inventory has held steady with 11 active listings.  These still comprise a good selection of 3 and 5 bedrooms and square footage from just over 1000 sq ft up to a roomy 3,500 sq ft.

5 of these listings are showing a price reduction of an average of 6%, indicating if you were in the market last month seeking to buy, then perhaps you should call us on (954) 745-4735 to take a second inspection.

Since the beginning of this year, 10 properties have closed with an average selling price of $260,481.  Over this period, the average days on market is 94.8.  More recently, in the last 30 days, there have been 4 closings averaging $300,850 and the days on market is greatly reduced at 25.25.

To learn more about this community, contact the experts at The Willard Realty Team.

Want to be the first to hear about our new listings?  Let us do the work for you and keep you informed via email.  Or get an analysis of your approximate home value delivered direct to your inbox.

Call now on (954) 745-4735 and speak with Justin or Claudia Willard for first hand advice.

8 Ways to save money on electric bill

by Justin Willard

Summer is coming and the days are warming up in Laguna Isles and many of us are thinking, how to save money on your electric bill.  Thanks to American Home Shield, here are 8 tips.

1. An air conditioner set at 70 degrees can cost twice as much to operate as one set at 78 degrees.  Raise the thermostat by 2 degrees above its normal setting.  You’ll still be comfortable, and your pocketbook will thank you.

2. Set the thermostat to 80 degrsave money on electric billees when you’ll be out of the house for several hours and lower it when you return.  However, don’t shut the air conditioner off; it’s less efficient to cool the house back down than to leave it set at a higher temperature.

3. A ceiling fan uses about as much energy as a 100-watt bulb, but it can make a room feel up to eight degrees cooler.  In summer, blades should turn counterclockwise, pushing air downward to create a cool breeze.

4.  Keeping windows closed and curtains drawn during the day can reduce cooling costs by 30%.

5. Lights, computers, and televisions all generate heat.  Turn them off when they’re not in use.

6. Get your air conditioner serviced before you need to turn it on to avoid the rush in service calls made to air-conditioning repair companies on the first hot day of the year.

7. Create shade for the outdoor part of your AC unit, but keep the area around the exterior unit clear of leaves, bushes, and other obstructions to ensure adequate airflow.

8. Clean or replace the air filter monthly.  Clogged, dirty filters block airflow and make a unit work much harder.  A clean filter can save up to 10% on your bill.

Source: American Home Shield

Now that you can save money on your electric bill, let's look at the market update for Laguna Isles!

Currently there are 7 active listings in this beautiful gated community.  You will have a choice between 3 and 4 bedroom homes, priced to suit a quick sale.  Listing prices range from a low of $245,000, which is an incredible $68 / sq ft up to a higher, yet still affordable $398,000.  The average size of these homes is approximately 2,500 sq ft.

Three homes have had reductions in their listing price, dropping on average 2.5% however there was one property that has had an 8.5% increase.

Since the beginning of this year we have seen a total of 4 closings with an average selling price of $315,625 achieving 93% of the listing price.  Days on market have been just a little shy of 55 days.  At the moment, closings have been a little quiet with no closing in the past 30 days.

Get ahead of the crowd - be the first to hear about new listings, sign up for our email service.  Let us do the work for you and keep you informed via email.  You can opt out at any time. Or perhaps you are thinking of selling.  Then you will want an analysis of your approximate home value delivered direct to your inbox so you can make an informed decision.

Call now on (954) 745-4735 and speak with Justin or Claudia Willard for first hand advice.

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Love letters reveal innocent times...

by Justin Willard

As we look at the market update this month, it is always nice to look to our past and see what it reveals.

Elizabeth Taylor's love letters to William Pawley, 90, now of Pembroke Pines, Florida, on display. Photo: REUTERS

Back in 1949, a young Elizabeth Taylor and her mother were on holiday in Miami Beach as guests of millionaire William Pawley Senior, a US ambassador to Brazil and aviation entrepreneur.  Mr. Pawley Senior had a son, also named William, and Elizabeth and the young William spent many an hour poolside as Elizabeth fell "head over heals" in love!

Now a month or so after Elizabeth Taylor's passing, the "never-before-seen" love letters are up for auction.  William Pawley, 90, now of Pembroke Pines, Florida, kept Taylor's letters and has now decided to sell them.  He told collectors at a viewing on Tuesday ''I have never got over Elizabeth.''

The bundle of letters are written on pink, blue and ivory paper - some on Taylor's MGM studio stationery, or on her private stationery, embossed with Elizabeth at the top.

According to Bobby Livingston, the auction company's vice-president of sales and marketing, before Taylor's death, the letters were valued between $US25,000 and $US30,000.  You can bid on these love letters at RRAuction.com

OK, back to the real world!  What is happening here in Keystone Lake this month?

There are 3 active listings comprising all of three bedroom homes averaging 1.760 sq ft in size.  Expect to find these homes asking $268,000 or $153 / sq ft.

The year-to-date closings have totaled 4 properties, with an average sale price of $244,250.  These have mostly been 3 bedroom homes of 1,895 sq ft.  Two of these closing have occurred in the last 30 days with a higher average sale price of $252,500.

As was mentioned in last month's market update, Keystone Lakes offers a good selection of floor plans, one of which is the Athens.

Want to be the first to hear about new listings?  Let us do the work for you and keep you informed via email.  Perhaps you are thinking of selling.  Then you will want an analysis of your approximate home value delivered direct to your inbox.

Call now on (954) 745-4735 and speak with Justin or Claudia Willard for first hand advice.

No Through Traffic

by Justin Willard

What are some of the benefits of living in a Guard Gated community?  Well the first thing you will notice is the peace and quiet.  Neighborhoods with open access can, and often do, have lots of unnecessary traffic that adds noise pollution.  While a Guard Gated community, it tends to have only minimal traffic.  Residents and their guests come and go without the added hassle of other drivers passing through.  This is what you will enjoy when you join our beautiful community at Estancia, Pembroke Pines, Florida.

Estancia

Security is another advantage.  Estancia is a Guard Gated community and you will enjoy the security of a Guard 24/7.  Being a self-contained community, there is not likely to be problems with vandalism, break-ins and strangers lurking around the house.  You will also feel confident and have no anxiety about walking the streets after dark.  This is an ideal living situation for those who live alone or who would otherwise feel vulnerable.  Families with smaller children will also appreciate knowing their children can enjoy quality time in and out of the house, and have safe streets to walk free of heavy traffic.

Then there is Property Value.  The houses built within a gated community are often on the upper end in regards to design, beauty, quality and price.  Being located within a community, houses have a better chance of gaining property value and are thought to be a better investment than some other types of housing.  This gives gated communities a significant advantage.

Looking at this month's market update for Estancia you will find 4 active listings.  On offer we have 3 and 4 bedroom homes with an average of 2,000 sq ft.  You can expect a listing price on average of $265,950 or if you prefer to break it down, that is $136 per sq ft.

Two listings have been reduced, one dropping 3.5% and the other 9.6% from their original listing prices.

Estancia has seen 4 closings since the beginning of the year averaging $229,975 with an average days on market of 47.  Two of these closing have been in the last 30 days.

Interested in seeing some of the floor plans available?  Then why not read last month's Market Update for Estancia.

To learn more about this community, contact the experts at The Willard Realty Team.

Want to be the first to hear about new listings?  Let us do the work for you and keep you informed via email.  Or get an analysis of your approximate home value delivered direct to your inbox.

Call now on (954) 745-4735 and speak with Justin or Claudia Willard for first hand advice.

The Dream - owning your own home

by Justin Willard

In a far, far distant time… well, it seems like that for many people these days as credit remains tight and credit scores are often still tarnished.  Mortgage loans are often being denied and sometimes it feels like for no good reason.

If you are in the market to buy a home in Pembroke Falls, you could be well advised to be prepared before you start your search.  Some preparation can save you both time and money, not to mention possible disappointments.  Remembering that the rules have changed, here are a few points you may like to consider.

¨       Are you buying a condo?  Be aware that if 15% of the current condo owners in the building are behind on homeowner dues and 10% or more units are owned by a single entity then your application is will likely be denied.

¨       Be aware of your Debt to Income ratio (DTI).  You can calculate this yourself by dividing your debt payments by your income and multiplying by 100 to give you a percentage.  Example; car loan, $400, house payment $1200, other loan $250; total debt payment $1850 with a monthly income of $4000 would be $1850/$4000 x 100 = 46.25%   A few years ago, 55% or less would be OK now if it’s over 45% you will likely be denied.

¨       If you have recently lost your home to a foreclosure, even though you have rebuilt your credit score, you may still have trouble.  If you apply for a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan within 7 yrs (vs. the previous 5 yrs) you will likely be denied.

Do not despair!  It doesn’t mean you won’t be able to buy a house.  It just means there may be more preparations.  Do your research.

Now that you are ready with your finance, let's look at this month's market update.  Pembroke Falls currently has 32 active listings so you have a good selection to choose from and should be able to find your dream home amongst these listings.  Nearly half of these properties, 15 out of 32, have seen a price reduction of on average of 6% and a few have dropped 12% & 14%   Most of these homes are 4 bedroom homes of approximately 3,000 square feet.  The average listing price is $500,747 but the median is a little lower at $437,950.

Properties that have closed since the beginning of the year total 20 selling at an average of $345,233, which is lower than the current average-listing price.  This is brought about by a couple of higher priced homes asking above $650,000, bringing the average up.  Homes selling are mostly 4 bedroom and approximately 2,700 square feet in size.

In the last 30 days, there have been 4 closings.  Again, these are 4 bedroom homes averaging 2,800 square feet with an average sell price of $350,725.  These properties are staying on the market an average of 82.5 days.

To learn more about this community, contact the experts at The Willard Realty Team.

Want to be the first to hear about new listings?  Let us do the work for you and keep you informed via email.  Or get an analysis of your approximate home value delivered direct to your inbox.

Call now on (954) 745-4735 and speak with Justin or Claudia Willard for first hand advice.

Rent or Buy? 78% of major cities it is cheaper to buy.

by Justin Willard

According to Trulia's rent vs. buy index it is cheaper to buy a home than to rent one in 39 of the nation's 50 largest cities.  This report compares the median list price with the median rent on two-bedroom apartments, condominiums and townhomes listed on Trulia.com as of April 1, 2011.  Although Walden Lakes is not mentioned in the figures, this report gives you a very good overview of our nation.

The index used below considers the total cost of homeownership compared to the total cost of renting. Calculations for the total cost of homeownership include mortgage principal and interest, property taxes, hazard insurance, closing costs at time of purchase, homeowners' association dues and private mortgage insurance.  The homeownership cost calculation also includes tax advantages from mortgage interest, property tax and closing-cost deductions.

Calculations for total rental cost include rent and renters insurance.

Top 10 cities to buy vs. rent:  

1 to 15 - much cheaper to buy than to rent

16 to 20     - more expensive to rent than to buy (depending on personal circumstances,   buying could "make financial sense,"

above 20 -  indicates that owning is much more costly than renting in a city

 

 As many home prices are still falling and more foreclosures are expected to flood the housing market over the next two years, the decision between renting and buying has swayed toward buying.  However, not everyone is in the current situation of renting, it may be that you are on the other side of the coin and are facing possible foreclosure.  Please, don't wait, let us help you through this difficult time and help you avoid foreclosure.  We understand that some homeowners are still confused and wondering what their options are, call now to speak with the Willard Realty Team.

Those looking to buy a home should be encouraged by the market and feel optimistic about their chances of finding an affordable home -- much more so than in previous years.

Looking at the Market Update in Walden Lakes we currently have one active listing.  This home is 1846 sq ft and 3 bedrooms with a listing price of $239,900 (reduced from $249,000).

From the beginning of this year a total of 5 homes have closed with an average selling price of $218,000.  Most of these homes were 3 bedrooms and had an average size of 1694 sq ft.

To learn more about this community, contact the experts at The Willard Realty Team.

Want to be the first to hear about new listings?  Let us do the work for you and keep you informed via email.  Or get an analysis of your approximate home value delivered direct to your inbox.

Call now on (954) 745-4735 and speak with Justin or Claudia Willard for first hand advice.

More Americans Flock to the South and West

by Justin Willard

It seems, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, that more Americans are heading to the South and West.  If you are looking to sell your home in Spring Valley then you are probably well situated.  The latest census data shows that over the last decade, the largest population growth is in areas of the South and West.  Seems this is largely due to the Northeast and Midwest residents continuing to head toward warmer and less expensive Sun Belt hot spots.

As such, the decade’s hottest housing markets also had the most rapid population growth, including Nevada (35.1 percent growth), Arizona (24.6 percent), and Florida (17.6 percent).

This expert opinion might give you an insight into the immediate future and you can judge how it could affect Pembroke Pines and its communities.  Paul Bishop, vice president for research at the National Association of REALTORS®, says…

"I expect much of the short-term housing activity to be mostly centered on the low and high ends of the market, rather than driven by merely migration patterns.  investors likely will continue to target highly discounted homes in growing Sun Belt cities as well as in shrinking Rust Belt areas. I also anticipate an increase in sales of expensive homes."

Now let's compare to last month's market update for Spring Valley and see how our numbers have changed.

Currently there are 11 active listings in Spring Valley, made up of 3 to 5 bedroom homes.  Over these 11 listings, the average listing price is $321,073 or if you prefer to look at the LP$/SqFt, it is $131/Square Foot.  Four properties have shown a fall in listing price on average of 7.9% and one property increased by 4.5%

Looking at the year to date closings, there have been a total of 9 with the average days on market just slightly over 85 days.  On average, these closed at $259,378 or $122/SqFt, which is below the current listing price per square foot of $131.  However, in the last 30 days there have been 3 closings averaging $236,967 or $134/SqFt.  Even though this sale price is lower than the year to date figure, the sale price per square foot is a good indicator that our current listing prices above are priced to sell!

Do you have any questions or comments?  Come and join the conversation and 'like' our fan page on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Or, you can always contact Claudia Willard directly.

Call now - 954.745.4735

Be among the first to know when new homes hit the market!

Spring housing inventory up 2.3%

by Justin Willard

Pembroke Falls

That is according to a report released April 14th on Realtor.com.  This is the official housing website of National Association of Realtors and it gathers listings from multiple services all over the U.S.  Every month, the company surveys up to 250 metropolitan areas and reports information regarding consumer trends, listing prices, active inventory counts, supply and demand indicators, among other things.

The online marketplace reported Thursday that compared to one year ago, the number of searches on the Realtor.com website is up by 15.1%.  Freddie Mac too expects a strong spring home buying season.

Realtor.com reported the national median sale price for March at $199,500, a quarter percent increase from February, yet a quarter percent decrease from one year prior.  The Fort Myers-Cape Coral, Fla. metropolitan statistical area witnessed the greatest year-over-year increase in price, up 24.1%.

Other markets in which the median price rose significantly between March 2010 and March 2011 include Fort-Collins-Loveland, Colo. (up 6%); Columbia, Mo. (up 6%); Santa Fe, N.M. (4.8%); Miami, Fla. (up 4.6%); and the Virginia suburbs of Washington DC-VA (up 4.1%).

Areas with the largest year-over-year declines in median list prices include Santa Barbara, Calif. (down 19.6%); Detroit, Mich. (down 13.8%); and Reno, Nev. (down 11.5%).

Locally, here in Pembroke Falls we have 35 active listings.  The median home is 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom and 3,288 square feet with a median listing price of $420,000.  Several properties have seen a reduction in the list price, averaging 6.2% drop.  As always, if you are looking to purchase your dream home at exceptional pricing, call us for an early inspection, we hate to see you miss out.

Properties are moving, since the beginning of this year we have seen 19 closings with an average sale price of $330,893, that works out at $125 per square foot.  Most of these homes were 4 bedroom  and approximately 2,700 square feet in size.  What is interesting is that of these 19 closings, 8 of them were in the last 30 days with an average sale price of $340,905.  So not only have there been more closings, there has been an increase in the sale price.  Good news if you are selling.

Be the first to hear about new listings, sign up for our email service.  Let us do the work for you and keep you informed via email.  You can opt out at any time.  On the other hand, perhaps you are thinking of selling.  Then you will want an analysis of your approximate home value delivered direct to your inbox so you can make an informed decision.

Call now on (954) 745-4735 and speak with Justin or Claudia Willard for first hand advice.

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Last Modified 5/19/2019