Monday, July 31, 2017

KEY FLOOD INSURANCE LEGISLATION NEEDS TO MOVE FORWARD

The National Association of Realtors® today* said that significant improvements to the “21st Century Flood Reform Act,” key legislation aimed at  strengthening and reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program, have cleared the way for endorsement of the bill.  The current program is due to expire September 30, 2017.  Among the changes, Realtors® support the House Financial Services Committee’s commitment to retaining “grandfathering” – a policy that protects homeowners from significant rate increases when a flood map changes.
           
The most recent draft will also limit proposed increases to fees and rate hikes that policyholders faced under previous iterations of the legislation. Earlier versions of the legislation included more dramatic cost increases for homeowners and eliminated grandfathering protections beginning in 2021.
            
NAR President William E. Brown, stated that “the changes to the 21stCentury Flood Reform Act will help give certainty to homeowners who have brought their property to code and have done their part to protect it against flood risk. It’s a fair and reasonable approach that recognizes the need for accessible, affordable flood insurance, while taking us one step closer towards reauthorization.
        
 “This legislation protects taxpayers, as well as homeowners, which is no easy task. The September 30th  reauthorization deadline still looms in front of us, and Realtors® are eager to see this legislation progress quickly. Leaders on both sides of the aisle are well aware that this issue touches 22,000 communities – in every state, both coastal and inland. We’re grateful for the committee’s support and look forward to their continued efforts on behalf of homeowners.”
          
  Flood insurance is a Nationally funded program, administered by FEMA. If you have flood insurance, especially if you have had it for a number of years,  don’t cancel it  - because you are selling your home, or you no longer have a bank requiring you to hold flood insurance - before you understand the ramifications. “Grandfathering” protects your rate and is an asset that may be transferable to a buyer.  It may also make a significant difference in flood insurance cost to a new owner.  So check with your insurance broker or contact FEMA.  


*Source: The National Association of Realtors®, July 21, 2017, Press Release, “ Realtors®, House Financial Services Committee Reach Agreement to Move Key Flood Insurance Legislation Forward”.  

Looking to Buy or Sell your Home? Call us at 631-765-5333, or visit us on our website: beninatiassociates.com.  We listen, we care…….and we get results.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

GOOD NEWS: HOME PRICES HAVE RECOVERED

“Have home prices recovered from the 2008 crash?” I am often asked this question, and always answer cautiously, because we still see some homes which were purchased at the peak of pricing in 2006-2007, selling at prices lower than the purchase price at the peak of the market ten years ago.

A recent Wall Street Journal story* made me wonder how the North Fork compared to the national statistics  quotes in the article.

The gist of the article is about home equity loans (Helocs) that offered advantageous payment terms, “typically the borrowers were allowed to pay back only the interest for 10 years.”  But after ten years, the payments reset to higher amounts including principal, and banks feared that home owners  could not handle the much higher monthly payments.  The good news is that “U.S. home prices, after dropping throughout the 2008 crisis and its aftermath, have risen nearly 35% since the start of 2014.  The median sales price of an existing home was $252,800 in May 2017, according to the National Association of Realtors, up from $187,900 in January 2014.” As a result of higher home equities, banks have been able to refinance customers into new loans.  Good news also: banks learned a valuable lesson about working with their customers, adjusting terms, instead of letting the “system” take over. 

How did Southold Town do over this same period?  The median sales price of an existing home was $524,000 in April 2017, according to Suffolk Research Services, Inc, up from $459,500 in January 2014 - very good news: an increase of 14%.  Great news: in 2007 the median sales price was $525,000 compared to $532,800 at the end of 2016.  We have turned the corner, and recovered value from the 2008 crisis.  Based on our own experience, the current trend, year-to-date, is continuing and we should hold and possibly increase in value by year-end.

So, more good news: it’s a good time to buy and a great time to sell!  Don’t delay, call us at 
631 765 5333 or email me at broker@BeninatiAssociates.com or visit our website www.BeninatiAssociates.com. We’re happy to help you with your purchase of sale here on the North Fork!

Sources:
* “Home-Price Rise Eases Bank Pain on Equity Credit Line,” page B14, The Wall Street Journal,  July 12, 2017.

Suffolk Research Services, Inc

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Summer: The Best Time to Buy & Sell on the North Fork!

There is no doubt that summer is the best season to show off the bountiful waterfront and other natural resources on the North Fork.  With summer officially here the North Fork is already seeing the most intense traffic of the year.
If your home is for sale, keep in mind that this is one of the best opportunities for you to attract the right buyer in the shortest amount of time.
If you are looking to buy, don’t let summer fun distract you too much from your home search.  It is a very competitive market, low inventory (I know you’re probably tired of me saying this), rising prices and interest rates make a good case for acting sooner rather than later.

Here are some tips for sellers and buyers to help cope:

For Buyers:  
·       Do your homework.  Even though summer is a time to relax and have fun with family and friends, if you are ready to buy, then put a plan together to get house hunting time into every weekend.  Work with a local Realtor – they will be able to give you background info on the homes, the offerings of each neighborhood and help you get through the offer and sale process. 

·       Be prepared to act quickly, once you see something you like, move quickly – make that offer and counter the same day if possible, especially where there may be multiple offers. 

·       Not ready to buy, then postpone your search to the fall where you will have time to look.  Homes are selling so quickly now that most anything you see will be not be available – so enjoy the summer!

For Sellers:  
·       Show off  the outside of your home.  Keep the front porch  and patio swept and lawn furniture clean.  Open the sun umbrellas, and put out colorful plants and cushions and make the outdoor space stand out.  First impressions count and curb appeal helps sell a house.

·       Do some summer staging. Remove heavy drapes and curtains and let in natural sunlight.  Always open the blinds and turn on lights when the home is being shown.  Add summer color to the inside of your home with pillows and cushions – colors like turquoise, mint green, yellow and pale blue all add to a summer feel.

·        ALWAYS use a dehumidifier in the basement, in warmer weather. There is nothing worse than a musty odor coming from the basement.  Turn on the air conditioner and cool off the house before a showing – even if you don’t like to use it. Most buyers  will remember where they were uncomfortable and hot.

If you are thinking of selling your home, you still have time.  Call us at 631 765 5333 or visit our office at the corner of Main Road and Horton’s Lane.  We will gladly visit and prepare a market analysis at no cost to you.  Our full service offering will exceed your expectations.  If you are planning to buy, we’d be delighted to help you find the right match for your needs. Call us or email: broker@beninatiassociates.com



Saturday, July 1, 2017

INDEPENDENCE DAY 2017 - CELEBRATE OUR FREEDOM

On July Fourth  we commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the document that marked the emergence of the United States as an independent, self-governing nation, guided by the principle of liberty.  It’s good to remember that the freedom we value today was earned by the bravery of the American statesmen who signed this document, putting their lives, reputation and personal property at risk. Fifty-six men, supported and guided by many brave, hard-working and dedicated women, stood together and affirmed:

            "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
           
            In 1776, as copies of the Declaration spread through the states and were read aloud at town meetings, religious services and public assemblies, Americans marked the occasion with celebratory rituals. They lit huge bonfires, "illuminated" their windows with candles, fired guns, rang bells, removed the symbols of the monarchy from public buildings, churches and taverns, and decorated the walls of their homes with newspaper copies of the Declaration of Independence. Today’s fireworks mark this great event with an exuberance our forefathers would have appreciated.
     
            We will be handing out replicas of the Declaration of Independence and American flags from our front steps during the Southold Town Annual Parade down Main Street.  The parade kicks off at 12 NOON  at the Firehouse and ends at 1PM at the American Legion Hall.  Hope you all will be there.  Check local newspapers and website for fireworks – lots going on!   It’s a great way to celebrate our wonderful country’s independence  and teach our children the reason for the celebration. 
May God Bless America.