Riverside Realty Group
2053 W. First St.
Fort Myers, FL 33901
Phone: 239-313-5544

Info@RiversideFL.com

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Blog: Real Estate

Seven Things A First Time Buyer Should do before starting a Home Search

Buying your first home is a big step! It’s wonderful to dream dreams, and it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of searching property sites like Zillow.com or Realtor.com. Before going too far, however, it’s a good idea to hit the “pause” button and consider these more serious points.   

1. Know when the time is right. Do some soul searching and make sure you want to buy a home because you genuinely want a home—not because you need an investment or simply think it’s “time” to settle down. Homes require a great deal of time, money, and energy to purchase and maintain. You want to love your home. If the timing isn’t right, you may regret the decision.

2. Review your credit score and get a credit report. You can (and should) request a free report once a year, at annualcreditreport.com(link is external). Review your report for any inaccuracies or disputes. It will take time to fix any issues, so start early.

3. Address any weaknesses in your credit history. If you have outstanding credit card or other consumer debt, start paying it off. If you are debt free but have very little credit history, you may need to start establishing a solid credit record. Important caveat: Do not apply for a new line of credit or a credit card if you plan to buy a house right away. Mortgage lenders are interested in a borrower’s well-established track record but may view a new credit line as a “red flag.”

Once you’ve been extended credit, use it and pay it off every month to establish a good record of managing credit obligations and debt. Don’t close old accounts, since they are a part of your history. Instead, use them occasionally – paying them off in full, so they remain active. To show credit worthiness, it’s best to have three or four open accounts, in good standing.

4. Start saving. Buying a home requires saving for a down payment on the purchase price. The more you save towards a down payment (in terms of a percentage of the purchase price), the better your mortgage terms can be. You also need to save money for closing costs. Many first-time buyers are not financially prepared for the cash required at the closing table. Closing costs vary, but on average, you can expect to pay between two and five percent of the purchase price of the house.

Working with your banker to set up a savings plan will help foster a good relationship and may provide a valuable resource when you are ready to apply for a mortgage loan. Let your banker know your plans and your timeline, and ask for their advice on preparing, financially, to purchase your first home.

5. Recognize the responsibilities. Your living costs will probably increase when you shift from renting to owning a home. You will no longer be able to call a landlord when something goes wrong. You are now the landlord, and will have to fix, or pay to repair, anything that goes wrong. Aside from household systems (air conditioning, heat, plumbing, electrical), you may also need to buy or replace major appliances.

The cost of insuring a house is also much higher than renter’s insurance because you aren’t simply insuring the contents of the house—you’re also covering the structure and any liability for visitors who may get hurt while on your property. Additionally, you’ll have to pay property taxes, which is a pretty hard hit for any homeowner, but can be especially challenging for new owners.

6. Get educated. Before you begin looking at houses, educate yourself about the buying process, what to expect, and what to avoid. Do your homework before you start looking to be an informed consumer.

7. Interview buyer’s representatives. Buying a house is a big deal, so you’ll want to select a qualified real estate professional to represent you in your transaction—someone who is both knowledgeable and will look out for your interests.

As a first-time buyer, you may not know there are differences in buyer’s representatives. If you select an Accredited Buyers Representative Like Don Molloy you can be assured you’re working with someone who has received special training in representing buyers and has already established a track record with buyers. 

Lake Okeechobee reservoir bill becomes law

 It's the law: Build a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee to curb disastrous discharges to the St. Lucie River.

 Last week Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday signed Senate Bill 10, the legislation authorizing a significant increase in water stored south of Lake Okeechobee to further the goal of reducing and eventually eliminating harmful discharges from the lake.

The reservoir was Senate President Joe Negron's top priority during the Florida Legislature's session that ended Monday.

"After 20 years of talking, southern storage is finally becoming a reality," Negron, a Republican from Stuart, said Tuesday in a news release. "We are well on our way to putting the harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee into the pages of history, instead of the front pages of daily newspapers."

The shovels aren't coming out right away: The legislation calls for the state and the Army Corps of Engineers to each pitch in $800 million to build the 78.2 billion-gallon reservoir. So Congress has to authorize it, and President Donald Trump has to add his signature, as well.

Smaller, deeper

The reservoir is two-thirds the size of the 117.3 billion-gallon project Negron originally sought, but farmers south of the lake and members of the state House of Representatives recoiled at his plan to buy 60,000 acres of farmland south of the lake.

The larger reservoir, combined with other water control projects already in the pipeline, was estimated to reduce annual average Lake O discharges east and west by about 90 percent. The smaller, deeper reservoir to be built on state-owned land, along with the other projects, is estimated to reduce discharges by up to 60 percent.

The project's size can be increased by possible land swaps and purchases. SB 10 prohibits the use of eminent domain. It also provides grants to establish training programs for agricultural workers.

"I look forward to the work ahead as we continue to work with Governor Scott and our federal partners to expedite the planning and construction of this critical project," Negron said in his statement. "Together, we will end the plague of toxic blue-green algae that harms the health of our citizens and destroys our environment and our economy, once and for all."

Timetable

After years of stops and starts, the bill puts the reservoir project on a speedy pace. By July 1, the South Florida Water Management District is supposed to ask the Corps to jointly develop what's known as a "post-authorization change report" to revise plans on the A-2 site where the reservoir is to be built.

If the Corps agrees, work on the report is supposed to start by Aug. 1. Congress has to approve the report by Dec. 1, 2019, or the A-2 parcel will revert to its earlier use and the state will have to look for another place to build the reservoir.

U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, a Palm City Republican, has said he'll introduce legislation Thursday he's calling the Everglades FIRST Act – it stands for Flow Increases Rely on Storage and Treatment – directing the to expedite work on reports needed for the reservoir and other projects to increase water storage around Lake O.

New Listing 1331 Morningside Dr.

Wonderful move in ready home on the river side of McGregor. Updated kitchen with loads of counter space and a fantastic farm house sink. The home also features updated baths & fixtures and has plenty of storage! The backyard is quite spacious and is completely fenced with wonderful plantings all around and a poured concrete patio which is great for entertaining. Tile throughout & wonderful open floor plan make this home a must see. Please make your appointment today


This home is featured in the McGregor Neighborhood Open House April 23,2017 from 1pm - 4 pm McGregor-Homes.com

 

Florida Still ranks up in the top 20 for investment properties.

Florida holds on: Four cities in the Sunshine State made the list, the most of any state, and all are in the top 10. There’s Jacksonville at no. 2, Orlando at no. 3, West Palm Beach at no. 5 and Tampa at no. 7. Winzer says that Florida’s continued strength is the biggest surprise of the list. (Last year seven Florida cities made the cut.)  Florida was the poster child for financial crisis devastation. As recently as 2015 seven markets in the state were undervalued by more than 20%. But builder constraint and job growth has boosted the value of existing homes.

 

Courtesy of Forbes January 2017

The Shell Factory is great for the family this Holiday Season

The Shell Factory  has been here since I was a kid.   We have had family birthday parties here.  We have enjoyed the Nature Park ,The Fun Park, and even attended a wedding one time.  There are many other things here to do.

   There website boast. "Yes, we have lots of shells, but we also have a Nature Park, Botanical Gardens, Eco Lab, Fun Park with Bumper Boats, Paddle Boats, Game Room & the Soaring Eagle Zipline, a huge retail store with FOUR FREE Museums, restaurants, outdoor dining & bars AND we are Pet Friendly except in the Nature Park and inside Capt'n Fishbones!"

 

                 

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