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August 2019
Greetings!
No matter where you are or have been this summer, weather has been a topic of conversation. The higher than normal temps and the higher than normal rainfall amounts have brought global warming conversations to a whole new level. The good news is that there has been no outbreak of red tide on the west coast of Florida this summer. Nor are we experiencing the algae breakout that is prevalent in Maryland and Virginia. Sales of new and existing homes in the Sarasota and Manatee markets for July broke records (again).

For those of you out of town, the sheer amount of new construction communities will astound you on your return. I am invited to several new community introductions weekly and yet, I find it difficult to stay on top of each new location.

Buyers from high tax states as well as first-time home buyers are driving our market. It is also delightful to see folks who were "underwater" finally have equity.

I am grateful to have worked with Monica and Luca, Walter, Lana and Mike, Marvalet, Kathleen and Derek and Areewan in their search for a new home. Recent appraisals have been coming back at offer price; inspections on some properties, less than ideal. It is disappointing that many listing agents don't have a conversation about getting a home in best condition to sell. The month of July and August (so far), has seen many homes return to market after poor inspections.

Thinking of selling? Let's meet and discuss how to get your property sold!
As always, I greatly appreciate your feedback and your referrals!

Until next month, sending my warmest regards,
Mugsie

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News & Updates
Ascending Affordability
Housing affordability has reached an 18-month high. Commenting on the release of the latest Mortgage Monitor Report, Black Knight Financial Services Data & Analytics President Ben Graboske said, "The decline in 30-year rates has been equivalent to a 15% increase in buying power, meaning that prospective home buyers shopping for the average-priced home could now purchase $45,000 more than last fall while keeping monthly payments the same."

Monitoring vs. Money
Data breach victims hoping to get a $125 check from Equifax will be disappointed. Equifax's settlement with the Federal Trade Commission for the security breach that exposed private information of nearly half the U.S. population included a choice between cash and a combination of free credit monitoring and identity theft insurance for affected consumers. So many people have chosen the cash option that the anticipated $125 amount will be drastically lower. The FTC says the monitoring and other protections are a far better value.

4 Financial Tips for First-Time Homebuyers
It can be difficult to understand what costs are involved with buying a house if you have never gone through the process before. These tips can help you navigate homeownership and ensure that you are financially prepared for the costs of homeownership:

  1. Consider all costs of homeownership. Your mortgage payment is not the only cost that you will be responsible for when owning a house. You also have to consider costs like insurance, property taxes, and repairs.
  2. Reduce your monthly payments with a higher down payment. The more you are able to put down now, the less your monthly payments will be. Additionally, the less money that you have to finance, the less interest that you will pay.
  3. Understand your closing costs. Most loans require that you bring cash to the closing table. The exact percentage will depend on your loan terms but it can be anywhere between three and 20%. You will also be responsible for origination fees, credit report costs, and agent fees.
  4. Your credit score can make a difference. Just because you are approved for a mortgage with a low credit score doesn't necessarily mean that you should go through with the loan. If you can take some time to improve your credit score, you could cut interest costs which could reduce your mortgage payment.

Hurricane Season
Last but not least, The NOAA has increased the number of named storms for 2019. Make sure you are prepared for a Hurricane.

News Articles
Here are a few recent real estate articles that I found interesting and informative that I wanted to share with you:

Upcoming Events
Sarasota & Manatee Counties
Howard's 'Did You Know'
Did you know that Florida has 125 specialty license plates, far more than most states but behind Texas and Virginia who have over 300 plates each. Almost every sport, every animal, every college, every branch of military service and every cause is represented via the specialty tags. The #1 plate sold to date is the University of Florida with over 93,051 tags representing $2million dollars in sales. Surprisingly, Helping Sea Turtles Survive is #2 at 82,001 plates. Currently on the bottom of the list is Warner Southern College with 94 plates. Curious about your plate? See the full list at www.myfloridaspecialityplate.com
In 2009, sales of these special plates were 1,623,486. Since 2009, there has been almost a 20% decline in sales of these plates representing an annual loss of $7 million in revenue for the state. The decline is directly attributed to the state legislature increasing the cost of registering a vehicle. Sales consistently are over 1.4 million plates. Specialty License plate fees vary and are charged in addition to the regular registration and renewal fees e.g. the Save Our Ocean plate costs an additional $25 annually. In most cases, a portion of the fee helps support a charity or non-profit organization.