Sunday, December 10, 2017

WHY YOU SHOULD LIST SOONER RATHER THAN LATER

               So often, sellers believe that our market on the North Fork is like the rest of Long Island, and they must wait to list their homes in the Spring.  In fact, ours is a strong second home market and most buyers want to purchase and close on their homes with enough time to make some improvements before Memorial Day rolls around.
              
              If you think about the time it takes to find a home, get financing and close, the smart buyer is looking now.  It takes about 2-3 months to find a home and 2-3 months to close. If a buyer starts looking today, they will have completed their purchase somewhere between March and May.  That would suggest, that to appeal to the typical second home buyer, you should be on the market right now!
               Another reason to list now is that your home will have less competition and get more attention, because so many sellers do wait for Spring, If your home is on the market, make sure it’s ready to show.  I know that’s a challenge when all the kids are home for the holiday, but make them part of the process.
               Holiday decorations often enhance the showing experience.  Just make sure it’s tasteful and not overdone.  Holiday music is another way to make the showing merry and bright!  I did an open house last weekend in a home that was nicely decorated and it was truly a pleasant experience for all who came.

               Lastly, remember that buyers who are out house hunting  at this time of year are motivated and ready to make a deal.  They will certainly benefit from their efforts and sellers who recognize and respond, will benefit as well!
             
              If don’t list your home next Spring – do it now!!!  We’ll help you, just call us at 631 765 5333 or email marie@beninatiassociates.com  or come on in and sit down and we can talk over a cup of coffee! 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

WISHING YOU A HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Thanksgiving is one of the most cherished holidays of the year where family and friends gather and give thank.  The tradition dates back to 1621, when the Plymouth colonists shared a harvest feast with Native Americans, the Wampanoag Indians, who taught them where to fish, where to hunt and how to plant corn .  It’s believed that venison, wildfowl – likely roasted duck or goose, seafood lobster, clams and mussels, dried corn, porridge and simple cranberries, chestnuts and walnuts were was on the first Thanksgiving menu – but not likely turkey, potatoes, corn on the cob or pumpkin pie! 
            In 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a National Thanksgiving Day to be held on the fourth Thursday of each November .

            Whether your traditions are old ones or new ones, this time of year is for acknowledging the blessings in our lives, giving thanks for those blessings and sharing our abundance with others. May this year’s Thanksgiving serve as a time of gratitude for all our blessings and may we each, in our own place, share our love and happiness in each circumstance.

            Living on the North Fork, we have a great deal to be thankful for. We feel especially blessed to be in this wonderful part of our country.  More than ever we must pray for peace and understanding  throughout the world.  May God’s Goodness and man’s kindness to one another abound.


            All of us at Beninati Associates wish all of you, God’s Blessings and a very Happy Thanksgiving Holiday.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Is H.R. 1 Really a Tax Cut?

I’m been listening to the various Congresspersons on TV talking about the tax cut bill – but what they talk about is lower overall tax rates but what is proposed to offset the lower rates is a direct hit to consumers and homeowners. Not only will millions of homeowners not benefit from the proposal, many will get a tax increase. Additionally, homeowners could lose substantial equity by the predicted 10% drop in home values if this bill is enacted.  We have barely recovered from the real estate crash of 2008 – it’s taken almost 10 years.  What are our representatives thinking?

            The house legislation includes a cap on mortgage interest deduction for new mortgages, limits on the exemption on Capital Gains Tax from the sale of a primary residence, elimination of the deduction for state and local income or sales taxes, elimination of the Mortgage Interest Deduction for second homes, elimination of the deduction for moving expenses, elimination of the deduction for personal casualty losses, such as from hurricanes or wildfires, elimination of the deduction on interest on student loans and elimination of the deduction for medical expenses, even for the elderly. All this from a bill that is supposed to improve the current system.
           
Home ownership is one of the bedrocks of our country and we need to make sure that any tax reform legislation protects middle-class home owners. Homeowners already pay 83% of all federal income taxes. Home-owning families with incomes from $50,000 to $200,000 could face average tax hikes of $815 in the year after enactment?
            Please write your congress men and women (Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressman Lee Zeldin, US House of Representatives) and ask them to reject this bill AND protect middle class homeowners. This legislation if not modified is a clear and present danger to American homeownership and could possible turn America from a home-owning nation to a home-renting nation. Tax reform should not become a tax increase for middle class homeowners.



Sources: National Association of Realtors, The Unveiled Tax Reform Legislation and Its Negative Impact on Housing Prices, November 13, 2017; The Wall Street Journal, Tax Plans Tweak the American Dream, November 13, 2017.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

A MATTER OF CHEMISTRY...and Expertise

            Finding a good realtor who you like and trust is the first step in selling or buying a home, and the most important step.

            For sellers, that person will be responsible for directing the marketing efforts for your home – the pricing, advertising, open houses, negotiations, analysis of results, and more.  You will be working closely with the person you choose.  That’s why it’s important you don’t choose the first realtor you happen to meet.  Studies show that well over 50% of sellers hire the first realtor they call.  For buyers, knowledge of the local market, expertise in town code and experience in negotiations is crucial to getting you the home you desire for the right price.
            Take the time to interview candidates at both franchise and boutique, independent firms. Consider recommendations of trusted friends and relatives.  Check to see that the agent has the experience and expertise for your particular search or property.  Ask about the agent’s track record.  Always work with someone who knows the area. Remember all real estate is local.  Discuss the marketing plan for your property if you are selling.  What kind of resource commitment is he or she able and willing to make to you. 
            Then choose the professional with the approach and plan that works best for you.  Most importantly, be sure to pick the person who makes you feel comfortable and confident that they will get the job done!  Choosing an agent who will represent your best interest in your real estate transaction is the most important decision you will make.  Remember that it is a “team” effort, and you should feel comfortable that the person you choose will deal with you truthfully and have the courage to tell you what you may not want to hear if needed.  Yes, it is a matter of chemistry but also professionalism, honesty and ethics! 
            At Beninati Associates, we are experienced, professional realtors. Our team is dedicated to offering the highest level of service.  They have been business owners and have seasoned experience in sales.   We are proud to have each and every one of them with us!
            Come visit our office, and speak to us about your selling or buying needs. We’ll take good care of you always. At Beninati Associates, we listen, we really care, and we get results for you!           


Congratulations to all the newly elected officials...may you be guided by your conscience and have the courage to always do what is right.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

No Fall Cooldown in Housing This Season

Although autumn began in September, activity in the housing market remained at summer-like levels through October, according to realtor.com®'s latest data preview. On a National level prices in October were 10% higher than the same time last year, with the national median at $275,000 and the national median age of inventory at 73 days.

"This month we aren't just experiencing still-summery weather—we're also seeing a sizzlingly competitive housing market at a time when things are usually cooling off for the fall," says Danielle Hale, chief economist at realtor.com. "With not enough homes on the market to meet the high demand, homes are selling 8% more quickly than a year ago even though prices are as high as they've ever been.

"For potential buyers who waited until fall hoping to score a bargain, the pickings are disappointingly slim," Hale says, "but one potential bright spot for market-fatigued buyers is that new listings are up slightly from one year ago. While new listings declined in the first four months of the year, they have increased on a year-over-year basis in five of the last six months."
The 3rd quarter results for the entire East End shows a significant increase in the median sale price over last year.  Southold Town did particularly well.  The median sales price for the 3rd quarter was the highest ever at $597,500 versus $535,000 last year – an increase of 11.7% quarter to quarter.  Dollar sales increased 17.5% for the quarter – the highest sales increase among all East End towns.  It’s significant to observe that the growth has been steady and consistent, unlike most of the other towns on the east end.
There is no question that the North Fork – especially Southold Town is getting noticed and sales results have reflected the popularity and desirability of the area.  Buyers, get in as early as you can, the trend will only benefit you going forward if you buy sooner rather than later.  Call us at 631 765 5333 or visit our website or email us at Broker@BeninatiAssociates.com.  We listen, we care, and we get results!


Sources: RIS Media, Power broker report, October 31, 2017; Suffolk Research Services, Inc., Comparative 3rd Quarter 2017, October 21, 2017.

Monday, October 30, 2017

HOME RENOVATIONS ON THE RISE: WHAT PAYS OFF?

A Harvard housing study* earlier this year predicted significant increases in home remodeling.  This does make a lot of sense for several reasons.  The continuing low inventory levels are limiting buyer choices, and increasing prices, making moving more difficult for younger people who don’t have much equity in their current homes.   It also makes home improvements a good bet if you are planning to sell your home in the next year or so.
            The most important part of the remodeling decision is where to put your investment so that you get the best return.   Not every renovation will pay off and sometimes very stylized types of changes may actually be a negative when a house is for sale.  So think carefully before you renovate, if your plan is long term (over 5 years) and you’ve always wanted that built-in mirrored canopy over your bed, do it! Just understand, it may have to be replaced when it comes time to sell your home.
          
  Here are some of the best investments to consider that will give you a return:

·       Wood floors – they never seem to go out of style. They are warm under foot and can be stained, bleached, or otherwise refinished to suit many different home d├ęcor styles.
·       Updated bathrooms - the average person spends about 45 minutes a day in the bathroom, so a stylish and comfortable environment is always appreciated.  Again, if you’re thinking of selling in the near future,  things like double sinks and handheld showers are wonderful conveniences.
·       Updated kitchens – they always seem to be where people gather in a home.  Probably one of the most important remodels you can do and the most expensive if you don’t shop smartly.  Consider a center island, if your kitchen has the space, where  your family and guests can congregate and where you can entertain while you’re preparing dinner.  Choose your cabinets and appliances with care.  Cabinetry can be unnecessarily costly – look for good quality, it’s not always necessary to have custom made.  Choose upscale appliances that are functional, but economize on extras.  You don’t need every bell and whistle.

           If your home needs updating and it’s in the budget, do it now and enjoy the improvements yourself, while you’re living in the house.  If you’re thinking of selling your home in the next year or so, we would be happy to meet with you to go over remodeling ideas that add to your living enjoyment and your home’s value when it comes time to sell.  Call us at 631 765 5333 or email me at marie@beninatiassociates.com. 

At Beninati Associates, we listen, we really care, and we get results!



* Improving Americas Housing 2017:Demographic Change and the Remodeling Outlook. Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

PROTECT AND CHECK YOUR CREDIT INFORMATION

The recent Equifax data breach was one of the largest hacks on record – about 140 million Americans are potentially affected. Yesterday’s news reported even more consumers may be exposed to identity theft than this original estimate. The implications for buyers applying for mortgages is significant, since the data that was compromised includes social security numbers, addresses and credit card information, etc. There will be an effect on mortgage processing both in terms of slowing down the process -due to more verifying and cross-checking of information by lenders - to out-and-out mortgage fraud. As a consumer, if you have been affected, it will and likely increase your cost of processing.

What should you do to detect if your credit records have been compromised and better yet how can you protect yourself from fraudulent use of your credit identity? Here are three worthwhile recommendations from security experts in the field:

1. Check Your Exposure – see if the Equifax breach affected you. Go to httpps://trustedidpremier.com/eligibility/eligibility.html

2. Freeze Your Accounts - if you have been affected (and even if you have not but wish to better secure your information), contact each of the big credit-reporting companies to freeze your credit, either online or by calling ( TransUnion 888 909 8872, Experian 888 397 3742, Equifax 800 349 9960). By freezing your accounts you will be able to use your credit cards but no one will be able to access your credit scores or get information without your knowledge or permission.

3. Monitor Your Credit – many credit card companies offer a free service where you can check your credit regularly. You can also purchase a monitoring service. It’s far less complex to undo fraudulent activity if you pick it up early, rather than after months of activity.
These suggestions represent an added burden to you, but in this world where consumer credit files are so critical to being able to borrow for a home or auto or large purchases, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cures!”

At Beninati Associates, we’re looking out for you!

Source: “How Equifax Breach Could Hurt Home Sales,” realtor.com (September 18, 2017).