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The Right Way to Buy a House When Out of State

 Today I’m joined by Robert Johnson, president of The Duncan Duo Team and co-host of our 970 WFLA radio show, to talk to about what it’s like to buy a house out of state.



If you’re looking to buy a home in a different state and you visit an area you’re interested in during a holiday, you might get a different impression of what that area is like than what it is normally. For example, there may be more or less traffic, so you need to rely on an area expert’s advice beyond just your initial impressions.

Further still, people who buy homes out of state tend to operate on their preconceived notions about how real estate works in their area, but real estate is very local; what might work in Michigan or New York isn’t necessarily going to work in Tampa Bay. Rules, laws, and procedures can vary by state, and you’ll need a local expert to help you navigate the differences between your home state and the state you’re buying in. For example, Florida is a title state, not an attorney state, meaning that title companies oversee the closing process instead of an attorney.

It’s also important to keep in mind the importance of flood insurance. You might be operating on your current understanding of insurance costs when thinking of purchasing in Florida, but some locations like Tampa Bay require you to be aware of factors like flooding and flood insurance.


Rules, laws, and procedures can vary by state, and you’ll need a local expert to help you navigate the differences between your home state and the state you’re buying in.


If you plan to do anything with the home other than occupy it yourself, make sure you look into local laws regarding renting it out. Airbnb and VRBO are great resources for you to rent out a property or do short-term leasing, but some municipalities and homeowners associations are against them.

Florida’s homestead exemption laws are something to keep an eye on, too. The tax applications that come from renting out the property full-time and occupying the home are different, so be sure to speak with an expert about those options, depending on your plans.

Finally, it’s important for out-of-state buyers to understand that other areas may have different expectations regarding property condition. You might be from an area that doesn’t need gutters, that doesn’t have a lot of water retention, that doesn’t have the same pest issues as your new area, or that doesn’t have the same issues with mold growth due to climate. Understand how certain items on an inspection report may not be as big of a deal here (or may be even bigger) as they are where you’re from.

If you have any questions about buying property out of state, especially if you’re considering buying in Florida, reach out to us. We’d love to help you.

If Your Home Failed to Sell in 2018, These Tips Will Help You Rebound in 2019

 If your home failed to sell in 2018, we have a few tips to help you make sure the same thing doesn’t happen when you relist in 2019.



If you listed your home in 2018 but it failed to sell, you have our condolences. We’re experts at helping people whose homes previously failed to sell, though, and here are a few tips you can use to make sure you have a successful home sale in 2019.

First of all, think about hiring a different agent. The first thing we think about when we hear about a home failing to sell is the agent hired to sell that home. As our industry has blossomed over the last few years, we’ve seen a lot of inexperienced people get into the real estate business. Agents like these may offer you a low commission or promise to work hard for you, but the fact is, they don’t have the marketing budget or the expertise to sell your home.

Furthermore, if they failed to sell your house once, what makes you think anything will change the second time around?

Second, try adjusting your home’s price. Price plays a huge role in a home sale’s success, and a simple $1,000 reduction might make all the difference. Your agent might’ve wanted to lower your home’s price when it was first listed, but that was probably because they didn’t know what else to do. Also, was that home even priced correctly to begin with? Did your agent have a strategic pricing model in place to attract buyers to your home?


Marketing a home isn’t just about listing it on popular real estate websites and social media platforms—you have to advertise it the right way.


Next, rethink your marketing strategy. Marketing a home isn’t just about listing it on popular real estate websites and social media platforms—you have to advertise it the right way. If your home’s listing profile has bad photos, no video tour, and/or a poorly written description, it’s not going to sell no matter how much you advertise it. Your agent needs to separate your property from all the other comparable properties being listed and know how to connect with the buyers who are searching for it.

Also, keep in mind that a lot of agents don’t pay advertising fees to websites like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com, so their leads get directed to other agents who aren’t aware of your listing and aren’t under any obligation to help you get it sold. If your agent doesn’t have a lot of reviews or listed sales on these websites, they’re probably not getting the inquiries for your listing that it needs to sell quickly and for top dollar.

Lastly, relist with proper timing. Whether you should relist right away in 2019 or wait a few months depends on your situation. When people in this situation work with us, we lay out their options and provide feedback to them as a fiduciary so they don’t recreate the same problems that plagued them the first time they listed their home and they achieve all their real estate goals in 2019.

If you’d like to get started planning your 2019 home sale, we’d love to help you. Just give us a call or send us an email, and we can make sure what happened in 2018 doesn’t happen again.

As always, if you have any other questions about our real estate market, feel free to reach out to us as well. We look forward to speaking to you.

The Benefits of Selling Your Home During the Winter

 Should you sell your home in the winter? Today I’ll give you some points to consider.



Why might you want to sell your home during the winter? Here are a few reasons:

1. Buyers are motivated. Buyers on the market during the winter have a sense of urgency to purchase a home, and as such, they may overpay for the sake of time and convenience.

2. Homestead exemptions. Many people want to purchase their home by the end of the year so they can take advantage of the homestead exemption. If they wait until January 1, they’ll pay their taxes a year later. As we’ve seen, home values have been rising, which in turn means that property taxes will be higher for them.


By selling during the winter, you have less of a chance of attracting tire-kickers and looky-loos.


3. There’s less competition from other sellers. Since most people tend to list their home in the spring and summer, it creates a mass entry of inventory; buyer demand can’t always keep up. Selling in the winter means that there will be fewer sellers on the market, which means that buyers will notice your listing more than they might in the spring.

4. There’s less of a flurry of activity. By selling during the winter, you have less of a chance of attracting tire-kickers and looky-loos, which means you’ll waste less time on entertaining non-serious buyers. It also means you’ll spend less time on home showings; since winter buyers are more serious, it may only take one showing to one person to get your home sold.

5. Title companies and mortgage lenders are often overbooked with business during the summer. Because of this, they sometimes rush through the process and provide lower-quality service. In the winter, they don’t have as many transactions to deal with, so the service quality tends to be higher. When certain details are missed or overlooked by mortgage and title companies, it can cost you money, time, and convenience.

I hope this information was insightful and impactful to you. It is, however, important to keep in mind that we will not universally recommend selling your home during the winter; each market and home seller situation is different, and our guidance will be influenced by your neighborhood and market.

If you have any questions about selling your home during the winter or were already considering doing so, we would love the opportunity to help you. Feel free to reach out to us anytime.