E-Newsletter December 2018
In This Issue
Welcome to our e-newsletter "The Real Estate Corner." This newsletter is sent out the first week of every month. We wanted to provide a newsletter that provides current information on the real estate market, economy, tax tips, and more! In addition, there are some fun things like golf tips, and recipes for your pleasure. We hope you find these to be useful. If you wish not to receive this newsletter in the future, you can unsubscribe at the bottom. Enjoy!

How Much Is My Home Worth?

The simple answer is, whatever the buyer is willing to pay. However, the most accurate is an appraisal. A home appraisal is an unbiased report on the valuation of a property in the fair market, performed by a trained and licensed individual. Appraisals are needed to ensure the buyer, the home seller, and the mortgage lender receive the accurate and true value of the real estate subject. The appraiser must be chosen by your lender to provide a level of independence from the buyer and seller. In order to ensure that appraisals are impartial the Appraisal Independence Requirements, (AIR) prohibits a lender's loan production staff from having direct contact with or influence upon any appraisers.

To reduce the risk of violating AIR, many lenders now hire appraisers via appraisal management companies. These companies work with many residential appraisers in order to cover a more diverse housing market and to reduce the risk of improper influence. An appraisal can range between $450-$700 depending on location, size, etc.

Although it might be tempting to look up your home value on different websites like Zillow's "Zestimate and others, these are not going to be accurate. Zillow uses a proprietary formula to determine the value of a home based off of information the website has obtained from public records and information entered by users.
The on-line site knows what the home sold for the last time it was purchased, and it knows this same information for other homes in the surrounding area. Using this and data entered in by homeowners, things like features of their particular home, Zillow comes up with a price that a home is worth.

Most home sellers will not pay for an appraisal valuation prior to putting their property up for sale, therefore they rely upon the expertise of a real estate professional to come up with the home value. Most realtors will use the Multiple Listing System (MLS) to gather "comparables." Comparables are homes of similar size, condition, age, and style that recently sold in a certain neighborhood. Comparables are examined by buyers, sellers, and real estate agents in a comparative market analysis (CMA) to establish a price range for a home based on current market activity.

An efficient CMA report, should have when possible, 3-4 recent closed sales transactions, 2-3 pending sales, 2-3 expireds or withdrawns (if available), and 3-4 active listings. The most valid of all of these measurements is "recent closed sales," not active listings! In addition, your location and condition will have an impact on the value of your home. Yes, when selling your home you want to be competitive with "active" listings. If someone has the same size, condition, and amenities as yours, but lists their home $15,000 less than yours, their property becomes more favorable to buyers.

Sometimes sellers spend tens of thousands in upgrades on a new home they purchased and expect to get the value of the home plus all upgrade improvements they paid for in the price of the property. In most cases, although this will help on the "marketing" of the home, in most cases they will not recoup this back after owning a home for a couple of years. I see this in newer communities like Esplanade in Lakewood Ranch. Buyers will put $100K + in upgrades and try to recapture this when selling two years later. You may be able to recoup this over time with appreciation.

It is always best to price your home right from the beginning. The first 30 days your home is on the market is where you get the most traction and on-line views from buyers. An "over-priced" home will stay on the market for a long time, and after several price reductions you may eventually get it sold for much less. According to the National Association of Realtors, usually 15-25% below your original established listing price.  

River Strand Community- November Updates

In the month of November, 9 properties were sold in River Strand community ranging from $162,000- $515,000. Currently there are a total of 27 properties available including single family homes, coach homes, villas, and condominiums available to purchase from $189,900 to $990,000 .

If you, or you know someone who is looking to buy, sell, or invest into real estate in the near future, please contact us at Keller Williams On The Water. Michelle and I appreciate the opportunity to assist you with all your real estate needs!

Happy Holidays to you and your family!

Notes: All index returns (except S&P 500) exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. The total returns for the S&P 500 assume reinvestment of dividends on the last day of the month. This may account for differences between the index returns published on  Morningstar.com and the index returns published elsewhere. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

"Many folks think they aren't good at earning money,
when what they don't know is how to use it."
Frank A. Clark

Brown Sugar Pecan Pie
Serves 12

  • All-purpose flour
  • 1 pastry for 9-inch pie
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • 1 large egg white
  1. Heat the oven to 375°F. Roll dough into a 12-inch round on a floured surface. 
  2. Gently place dough round into a 9-inch glass or ceramic pie plate. Press dough rounds against the bottom and along the sides of the plate without stretching. 
  3. Trim the edge of the dough from the pie. Place the overhang on a surface and cut it into 40 shapes with a ¾-inch decorative cookie cutter. 
  4. Reroll the extra to make decorative trim for the pie later if necessary. 
  5. Put the pie shell in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Put the 40 dough shapes in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  6. Put foil or parchment in the pie shell. Weigh it down with dried beans or uncooked rice. 
  7. Bake 12-14 minutes or until the pie shell begins to set.
  8. Remove the foil (and the weights) and bake another 13-15 minutes, until golden.
  9. At the same time, mix sugar, syrup, whole eggs, butter, bourbon (or vanilla extract), and salt with a wire whisk in a large bowl until it is well blended.
  10. Put the hot pie shell into an 18- by 12-inch jelly-roll pan. Brush the pie shell rim lightly with egg white. 
  11. Gently place the cut shapes around the rim. Spread pecans evenly in the pie shell. Layer sugar mixture on top.
  12. Bake until the filling is golden brown, puffed, and set around the edges, 35 minutes. The center of the pie should jiggle slightly when done. 
  13. Let the pie cool on a wire rack.
Recipe adapted from Good Housekeeping [17]

IRS Develops 'Get Ready' to Help You Prepare for Tax Reform *

The IRS is offering a new publication to help taxpayers better understand tax reform. Called Tax Reform Basics for Individuals and Families, Publication 5307 explains the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, enacted late last year for 2018, and how it will affect tax filings.  The publication targets individual taxpayers and families and what they can expect on their 2018 federal tax returns.

Publication 5307 provides information on:
  • Increasing the standard deduction
  • Suspending personal exemptions
  • Increasing the child tax credit
  • Adding a new credit for other dependents
  • Limiting or discontinuing certain deductions

To download or read the publication, go to https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p5307.pdf.

For more information about preparing for tax filing, go to https://www.irs.gov/individuals/steps-to-take-now-to-get-a-jump-on-next-years-taxes.

* This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor.


Tip adapted from the IRS.gov[18]
Blowing Away Your Shot

The wind is whipping along, from left to right. You know that this would not be a good time to hit a slice. You attempt to hit the ball to the left to overcompensate for the breeze. But it doesn't work. And your ball goes exactly in the direction you didn't want it to go - way, way to the right.

When players who tend to slice attempt to hit the ball to the left (into the breeze), it sometimes goes even farther to the right. (The reverse scenario is true for left-handed players.)

Why does this happen? You naturally cut across the ball, which makes squaring the face even harder. This tendency sends the ball in the exact direction you don't want it to go.

What's the solution?

Make several waist-high practice swings to readjust your preparation process. This exercise reinforces the action of rounding out your swing, which produces a better release. It also helps to create a squarer face at impact.

Next, step up to the ball to prepare. Place your clubhead in front of the ball; grip your club for the swing. Don't change your grip as you move the clubface behind the ball to make your swing. This creates a stronger grip. Your hands will be turned more to the right (or the left for left-handed players).

Use the shorter 3-wood club rather than the driver. This will enable you to make a more solid shot.

Tip adapted from GolfDigest[19]
Tired of Being Tired?

You're tired all the time. So, so tired. You sometimes feel you can't even do your normal, daily activities. 

So, what's wrong? You may have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). While CFS has no obvious causes and is hard to diagnose, you can treat the symptoms and find relief.
Health-care professionals look for patterns of symptoms, including faulty immune systems, viral infections, or stress.

CFS differs from the normal fatigue many of us may feel on occasion. CFS' overwhelming fatigue may last up to six months or longer.

If you have CFS, you may also experience chronic pain, headaches, sore throat, and muscle and joint pain.

Other symptoms may include:
  • Memory problems
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Sleep problems
  • Dizziness

Women are four times more likely than men to suffer CFS, which afflicts more than a million Americans.

Health-care professionals diagnose CFS primarily by ruling out other conditions. While CFS has no cure, treatment strategies can help alleviate its symptoms and help you "feel" better.

Medications may help with some symptoms, such as sleep problems. Counseling can help you cope with the anxiety, depression, or anger that sometimes coincides with CFS.

Healthy, balanced, and responsible living may lead to long periods of remission. Learning to manage your activity levels can greatly improve your condition as well.


Tips adapted from WebMD[20]
The Scoop on GMOs
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are developed in laboratories to withstand harsh forces of nature; modifications may include enhanced resistance to pesticides. While research is unclear on GMOs' impact on human health, consumers around the world are increasingly demanding their governments plainly label food products that contain GMOs.

More than 40 nations currently require GMO labeling of food. Research shows that more than 90% of Americans also want food labeling for GMOs.

Corn, soy, and canola oil are the most common GMO products, which are in 70% of the most popular processed foods. Breakfast cereals, cookies, chips, and frozen meals are processed foods with potentially high GMO levels.

Advocates of GMO labeling point to laboratory studies that they contend lack adequate scientific rigor for gauging the effect GMOs have on human health.

They suggest genetically engineered crops have produced dangerous and unintended consequences, "superweeds," that are also resistant to pesticides. The process has often led to a cycle where farmers increasingly use more powerful - and potentially toxic - pesticides to combat the stronger strains of weeds in their crops.

Despite the promise that genetically engineered crops would curb world hunger, GMOs' track record in the last 20 years provides no evidence of having any significant impact. Some environmental leaders say consumers should be made aware of the presence of GMO in their foods.

Tip adapted from Environmental Working Group[21]
Share the Wealth of Knowledge!
Please share this market update with family, friends, or colleagues. If you would like us to add them to our list, simply click on the "Forward email" link below. We love being introduced!



Visit My Site