10-Day Closings Aren’t a Myth... They’re for Real! AT THE NETWORK, WE’RE DOING THE IMPOSSIBLE. a sweat. Throughout our 20+ years in the industry, we’ve proven time and again we’ll do whatever it takes to make mortgages simple. Our 10-Day Closing Program, though, takes the bar to another level! “Being able to close loans in just 10 business days is truly a win-win for
B ILLI W EST
leverage they need in a competitive home-buying landscape.
Branch Manager Network Funding NMLS# 306348
Plus, with the addition of our simpl application, the loan process has never been easier for our clients. Mortgages may be complicated these days, but we like to think we’re making it as straightforward as possible.” - Billi West
3521-B US Hwy 17 Fleming Island, FL 32003 (904) 269-5992 firstname.lastname@example.org www.teamnetwork770.com NMLS# 2297
Imagine being able to apply completely online, get a real pre-qualification letter instantly, make guarantee of a 10-day closing, and move in just 2 weeks later! With Network Funding, this isn’t a dream... It’s reality. Still skeptical? With our $250 guarantee on every 10-day close, you’ve got nothing to lose! To learn more, view requirements and restrictions, and see how we get the job done, visit nflp.com/10-day-closing-program, or contact Billi West at your local branch in Fleming Island.
With our SIMPL Application, our borrowers can get a prequalification letter in just minutes, giving them a jump-start on the loan process.
A B OUT NETWORK F UNDING: We’re a family-owned company founded in 1998 on three principles: Integrity, Reliability, and Simplicity. We will always strive to be open and honest in our communication, get the job done on time, and make the loan process as easy as possible. It’s how we became a Top-100 Lender and a Top-50 Workplace, and it’s why 95% of our customers would recommend us!
In Your Corner
DOES YOUR HOMEOWNERS POLICY NEED ITS ANNUAL CHECKUP?
AMENITY CENTERS ARE GOING TO THE DOGS
IS EVERYONE A REAL ESTATE AGENT? Without a doubt, the real estate industry is a popular career for folks from all walks of life. Many join our ranks as a second career, or as a part-time position to supplement income. This article takes a look at what it truly means to be a full-time real estate professional, while dispelling myths about the “glamorous” life of a real estate agent.
WE’RE ON KITCHEN ISLAND TIME
ARE HOME PRICES UP? WHAT’S THE AVERAGE SALES PRICE IN NE FLORIDA? WE’VE GOT ANSWERS!
CHANGING LIVES THROUGH COMPASSION AND SERVICE
© 2020 Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty Inc. All rights reserved.
DOES YOUR HOMEOWNERS POLICY NEED ITS ANNUAL CHECKUP? Next to your ability to earn an income, your home is the largest asset you have. When was the last time you reviewed your homeowners policy, and what should your biggest concerns be? We sat down with Tim Murphy, a local State Farm broker and agent to chat about policies, property and how to protect your assets. How has the homeowners insurance industry changed in an era defined by technology and instant answers and gratification? Online insurance has really commoditized the insurance business, where folks are just shopping price – not actual benefits, coverage and service. It’s not as simple as cheapest is best; all policies are not created equal. What is the first question a home owner should ask when looking for an insurance carrier? Is the carrier rated an “A” by AM Best? And if it’s not, ask why not. The answer(s) will give you the information you need to either continue down that path with that carrier, or give you reason to look elsewhere. Remember, your home is your largest physical asset, and as such, it should be properly protected. I found the carrier and broker I’d like to work with. How do I know what to insure the home for? This is a great question – and one that often trips folks up because, SURPRISE: It needs to be insured for MORE than its purchase value. One of the best ways to protect yourself is through an increased dwelling coverage endorsement. For example, you pay $250,000 for your home today. It burns down tomorrow. You won’t be able to rebuild your home for that cost because chances are, the builder, all vendors, etc. built the home on a different scale, meaning their costs were lower due to the scale of the jobs they did in the community (they bought multiple lots, awarded bids based on multiple
bids, etc. to get their costs down). Now you’re talking about a one-off build which rarely can be done for the same price.
“Review your homeowners policy every 18 months to 2 years.” Let’s keep going down that road. My home is gone or significantly damaged, and I have to find a long-term, but temporary, solution to my family’s living arrangements. Does every policy cover the full costs of a rental home or temporary lodging? Your policy should contain an adequate amount for Additional Living Expenses (ALE). How will you pay for the additional expenses like home rental, utilities, etc. and you still have to maintain your original mortgage? It’s recommended that at least 30% of your dwelling coverage amount should be ALE. In our example, that’s $75,000 available to you to cover your living expenses while you’re temporarily out of your home. I see that my policy includes Actual Cash Value (ACV) for certain things. The word “cash” is good, right? In this instance, no. ACV is basically the depreciated value of the item(s). So, if you purchased a dining room table for your home 3 years ago at a cost of $1,500, the ACV is FAR less because depreciation is taken into account. Your policy should also be for 100% REPLACEMENT COST for things such as roof and pool cage. We’ve talked about the home itself; now what about my personal property? What exactly constitutes personal property and is it fully covered?
IN YOUR CORNER
Imagine taking your house and turning it upside down. Everything that shakes out – that’s referred to as personal property in your policy. Every piece of furniture, clothing, kitchen items, garage, tools, artwork, etc. Fifty percent coverage is rarely enough and you should never insure for less than that; we actually recommend 75% of your base dwelling coverage amount. And remember, do not accept a policy that pays ACV. Full Replacement Cost is what you’re looking for. If I have an extensive art collection or expensive jewelry, should I assume it’s covered under personal property? Assumptions like this can be costly; you want to ask yourself if you have personal property items of high value. Then ask your carrier if it’s covered and under what circumstances. A separate policy where high value items are scheduled may be best. Separate Personal Articles policies can provide a broader scope of coverage with a limited (if at all) deductible. This policy may also cover items you’re wearing/using while not at home. For example, you go skiing and lose your wedding ring – guess what? It’s covered. Typically with no deductible, based on how the policy is written. Depending on the value of your items, a separate policy should always be considered for valuables. I’m trying to save money and it looks like my policy has a liability insurance section; do I really need that? One of the great things about liability coverage is that it follows you – it’s not just limited to your property address. For example, if your dog gets out and runs a mile down the road and bites someone trying to
catch him, you may possibly be held liable. This protection also helps guard your finances should you ever be taken to court over a personal injury that occurs on your property. There’s liability coverage in all homeowners policies – and it’s my job to “put a fence around your assets” by ensuring you have the proper liability limits. I run a home-based business. Am I covered under my homeowners policy? Business owners who run businesses out of their homes, typically have limited, if any, coverage under a homeowners policy. Equipment, furniture etc. that belongs to the business does not fall under a traditional homeowners policy. Be sure to ask your carrier if home-based business equipment is covered. How often should I review my policy? Review your homeowners policy every 18 months to 2 years. We all have changes in our lives. And sometimes those changes can create additional risks. Maybe you inherited furniture or jewelry. Maybe you installed an outdoor kitchen or built a shed. All of these could impact your policy – positive or negative – and should be discussed with your carrier to ensure you’re protected.
Tim Murphy, State Farm
If you could tell homeowners just one thing about policies and expectations, what would it be? Home owners policies are meant to cover sudden and unexpected loss. That’s the bottom line. Approach your coverage from that perspective and you’ll be ahead of the game.
AMENITY CENTERS HAVE GONE TO THE DOGS. LITERALLY! Demand for convenient, pet-friendly spaces within neighborhoods and communities has created one of the country’s fastest growing park industries. According to a report by The Trust for Public Land, in its annual survey of the 100 largest cities, the number of dog parks has grown to 810, an increase of 37 parks over 2018. Many home builders are incorporating off-leash dog parks into their master community plans to entice dog-owners and differentiate themselves from traditional neighborhoods. Sizes range from small lots within an existing park to large land areas with significant acreage and access to rivers, lakes and beaches. Agility courses, dog washing stations and water features ensure dogs – and their humans – have activities that provide exercise, an opportunity to socialize and
meet new friends (furry and not furry!). Cities and towns are also seeing growth among businesses catering to dog owners, as dog parks open to the public are increasing in popularity. A recent visit weekday visit to BrewHound Dog Park and Bar proved that premise; more than a dozen energetic dogs enjoyed their unleashed freedom while their owners enjoyed a hot (or cold) beverage in the fresh air. BrewHound, located in Neptune Beach, features an outdoor bar and beer garden, serving Bold Bean specialty coffee, local craft beer and wine on tap. Lawn games are set up outside and large screen outdoor televisions are available for sports and special events coverage. But it’s The Yard that’s the star of the show at BrewHound. With pet-friendly turf grass, separate fenced areas for large and small dogs, shaded
areas, and a splash pad, there’s plenty of activities to keep your pupper entertained. There’s even Ruffarees in The Yard who keep a watchful eye to ensure dogs stay on their best behavior and are safe. BrewHound is memberbased, with daily, monthly and annual passes available. Whether you’re looking to buy or build, or maybe move to a new part of town, ask your realtor about amenities for your four-legged companion; you’re sure to find a best in show facility!
THE COLDWELL BANKER BRAND IS A STORY OF LEADERSHIP AND SUCCESS. a licensed real estate agent, the list of requirements is somewhat short. An 18-year old with a high school degree only needs to study and pass the state’s real estate license exam to begin his or her real estate career. Anyone can be an agent, and with the number of real estate professionals in Northeast Florida now topping more than 9,000, it appears everyone just might be. Sexy reality television shows glamorize the real estate industry, showcasing luxury homes, excessive budgets and well-heeled real estate agents who appear to be living the American dream. Perfect customers, perfect homes and perfect transactions. Who wouldn’t want to be part of an industry that US News and World Report ranked as the 4th best Sales and Marketing job? When you think about your network of friends, neighbors and family, chances are you know more than one real estate professional. In fact, you probably know three or four, all with varying degrees of training, expertise and experience. What makes real estate such a popular career choice for so many? Income. The impression for many is that being a real estate agent is easy money. You host an open house or two, post some photos and maybe a video on Facebook, and customers will be knocking down your door. The commission checks practically will write themselves! The numbers tell a different story. In 2018, there were 1,359,208 REALTORS in the United States. According to 2018 US News and World Report research, agents in the 25th percentile (approximately 339,000 people) made around $74,530. The lowest-paid 25 percent made $33,020. Note the word “paid.” Thousands of agents never make a dime. Ease of entry to profession. To become
Self-employment. Being your own boss is a dream for many; working in the real estate profession creates independence and is a source of “freedom” from the rat race. Setting your own schedule, wearing what you want to wear, having the ability to pick and choose where and when you work. What’s not to like? For one, self-employment taxes. Real estate professionals are business owners, with some setting up LLCs or S-Corps, while others choose to be independent contractors. Business expenses can pile up quickly: computer equipment, upgraded smart phones, marketing materials, website, and licensing fees. This list doesn’t even include the expenses that come with marketing a listing, such as photography, advertising, printed materials like postcards and flyers, open house expenses, etc. Agents are often in debt before they even host their first open house or have one qualified buyer. Why our agents don’t fall into those traps. Coldwell Banker Vanguard agents are fulltime professionals with a deep knowledge of our unique market, providing expert counsel to buyers and sellers. By providing our sales professionals with high quality programs, exceptional training, innovative technology and ongoing career development and coaching, our agents exceed customer needs and expectations. Though anyone can indeed be an agent, it’s the training, coaching and skill development
programs we provide that set our agents apart from others. Becoming an expert real estate professional takes time and dedication to the craft – and most of all, it takes effort. Service not sales. Coldwell Banker Vanguard agents are full-time real estate professionals, immersed in the industry and engaged with their communities. This commitment to the profession mirrors the commitment our agents have for their customers. It’s imperative that agents have real-time knowledge of trends, market activity and the financial landscape, and this can only be accomplished when working full-time in the ever-changing real estate industry. For Coldwell Banker Vanguard agents, it’s not a grind. It’s a journey.
the relevant knowledge needed to be subject matter experts and provide the best possible service and guidance to their customers. Coaching. Coldwell Banker Vanguard employs a Company Coach, who works closely with agents to empower, encourage and passionately advise them toward their goals and aspirations. This dedicated approach to our agents leads them to being more committed to their chosen career – and that’s an important distinguishing characteristic. Agents who are full-time, not chasing dollars and willing to invest in themselves means customers receive counsel and service second to none.
Marketing. Every Training. When a Coldwell Banker “Though anyone can licensed agent joins Vanguard agent indeed be an agent, it’s the Coldwell Banker has a best-in-class Vanguard family, he marketing team the training, coaching or she undergoes behind them, skillfully and skill development extensive training at producing quality our education facility, promotional materials programs we provide with a course load for listings. Agents that set our agents apart” that best fits his or also have access to her existing level of complimentary home expertise. New agents are trained in writing photography, as Coldwell Banker Vanguard contracts, working with buyers and sellers, employs professional photographers and using MLS, law and ethics as well as training videographers who work diligently to present to use proprietary Coldwell Banker Vanguard every home in its best possible light. Since technology. For agents who are experienced agents aren’t spending time tracking down and making a brokerage switch or new to photographers, waiting on photos and then the area, Coldwell Banker Vanguard provides hours uploading to MLS, they have more time complete education in areas that quickly get available to commit to customers and their the agent up to speed on the processes and needs, knowing that the details behind the expectations of Coldwell Banker Vanguard. scenes are handled seamlessly. This in-depth training supplements the expertise each successful agent brings with As a brokerage, Coldwell Banker Vanguard is them. committed to quality, not quantity. But more importantly, our agents are committed to their Complimentary skills courses are offered year- customers and putting their needs first. round on myriad topics, ensuring agents have
WE’RE ON KITCHEN ISLAND TIME
Kitchens have long been the emotional center of homes – but home builders didn’t always showcase them. “The family dynamic has mostly been centered around the kitchen for the last 30 years,” said Tony Ellis, a professional kitchen and bath designer. “House design has caught up in the last 10 years, and that means in remodeling, we have been playing catch up.” A hot trend for 2020 is turning the traditional kitchen island into a statement piece, where function now meets form. Traditionally a prep area,
Image courtesy of The Cabinetry Studio
Kitchen envy. We’ve all probably had it at one time or another (or maybe you have it now!). It’s difficult to turn on a lifestyle network without seeing glorious kitchens complete with double ovens, custom stove hoods, pendant lighting and immense islands with built-in cabinets and seating…it’s what kitchen dreams are made of!
kitchen islands are now musthaves for many home owners. “More people are staying home and entertaining, or they like having the space available for baking projects,” said Ellis. “Others like having the kids do homework at the island while parents clean and prep.” The design team at A Kitchen Connection in St. Augustine also agrees that kitchen islands can be an instant upgrade. “Customers are opting for a bold look with decorative end panels with matching false doors, bold style legs, and
new shiplap siding,” shared the team. “The trend of chef style kitchens also lends itself to a large cooking area on the island with seating to entertain & create memories in the kitchen.” As you look to begin a kitchen transformation, budget and timeline are paramount. And so are realistic expectations. Television programs jade the scope of projects – often giving a false narrative on scope, price and time frame. “On a TV remodel, so many things are prepared in advance that it makes it look like a remodel could take weeks,” Ellis said. “Add to that some very unrealistic budgets based on the local or regional market and client may get the wrong idea.” Mike Schoenfeld, owner of The Cabinetry Studio in Jacksonville agrees. “A large misconception people get
Image courtesy of A Kitchen Connection
Image courtesy of The Cabinetry Studio
though, I would recommend replacing.”
from TV is kitchen remodels are quick, simple and cheap to do and that is just not the case. The snippet you see on TV took a staff of people a lot of time to create and implement to do correctly.” A Kitchen Connection also adds that homeowners should be mindful of timing when scheduling a renovation. “Being without a working kitchen is troubling for some people & should be properly planned for the right time.” So where’s the most bang for your buck? A Kitchen Connection believes the best value when renovating a kitchen is new cabinets and countertops. Often times, home owners believe re-facing cabinets is the better option, when in fact, it can end up being twice the cost because of the amount of labor to sand and paint. “Re-facing bad cabinetry or only doing new
countertops on bad cabinetry is like putting ‘pearls on a pig,” they shared. “Door styles get dated and new paint won’t fix that.” Schoenfeld agrees. “I’ve never been a big fan of re-facing; you get new doors, drawer fronts and maybe moldings, but you keep the same old tired box, Schoenfeld said. “To me, if you’re selling and just want to have a fresher look or the cabinets are relatively new and in good shape, then re-facing is fine. If you plan on living in the home for a while
Image courtesy of The Cabinetry Studio
Kitchen designers agree selecting a company or builder to renovate your kitchen is far more important than having an interior designer or someone with a “good eye” do the design work. Kitchen design specialists have extensive knowledge of construction design to make the most functional kitchen for the customer. “Designing is fun, but the lasting impression for customers is how the install went. Kitchen designers can lead you through the process from floors to lighting/ electrical and recommend a licensed contractor when needed,” advises A Kitchen Connection. “Designing a new kitchen is not something to be rushed. You want to be happy with it for years, functioning the way you want it to. Find the right company that can walk you through the process AND listens to your ideas.”
MARKET UPDATE Data Source: Northeast Florida Association of Realtors
4500 4250 4000 3750 3500 3250 3000 2750 2500 2250 2000 2018 JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC 2019 New Listings in December of 2019
Average Days on Market
$149,999 or less
$150,000 - $199,999
$200,000 - $299,999
$300,000 - $499,999
$500,000 - $900,999
$1,000,000 and up
Average Sales Price
Percent of Original List Price Received
$149,999 or less
$150,000 - $199,999
Inventory of Homes for Sale
$200,000 - $299,999 27%
Single Family: 85% Condo/Townhouse: 15% Previously Owned: 79% New Construction: 21%
$300,000 - $499,999 26%
$500,000 - $900,999 14% $1,000,000 and up
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN PASSION MEETS PURPOSE? CBV CARES HAPPENS. A nonprofit organization founded and funded by Coldwell Banker Vanguard (CBV) associates, CBV Cares provides cash grants to dozens of First Coast organizations and events year-round. Each CBV office has a charitable council that reviews grant submissions, awarding thousands of dollars each year to terrific groups nominated by CBV customers and agents. More than $55,000 was granted in 2019 to dozens of agencies and events doing incredibly impactful work in the community. Organizations receiving support included Mission House, Inc., Rethreaded, JASMYN, Ronald McDonald House of Jacksonville and Clay Education Foundation. This dedication to stewardship earned CBV Cares the 24th spot on the Jacksonville Business Journal’s 2019 list of corporate philanthropists. Funds are raised in a variety of ways: from a Kentucky Derby-themed bourbon tasting party to bingo nights to partnerships with local venues like the Alhambra Dinner Theatre. Many agents also donate a portion of each transaction to CBV Cares, putting their money where their hearts are. 2020 brings a year of boldness and gratitude to CBV Cares, as a new initiative is launched. Offices will continue to support causes and organizations important to their agents and customers and in February, a new campaign, 2020 OG: Operation Gratitude will be unveiled. 2020 OG: Operation Gratitude will feature a monthly event or sponsorship to express appreciation and gratitude for the country’s veterans and active-duty military. Next month’s issue of At Home With CBV Life will include details on the events as well as information on how the public can get involved. To nominate a local nonprofit organization or event for a cash grant or sponsorship, contact your CBV agent.
Closing Bear is a fast-paced title company that offers title insurance and closings for anyone buying or selling real estate. Simply put, Closing Bear does all the paperwork when someone buys or sells property...but they do it better than anyone else. THE CLOSING BEAR STORY Closing Bear launched in June 2019, and quickly becoming the fastest growing title company in Jacksonville. By infusing modern technology and practices into an age-old industry, Closing Bear positioned itself as the most innovative company in its market. “We were founded on the idea that the real estate industry and current title companies had become stagnant, complacent, and primed for disruption,” said Chip Lynn, CEO/Managing Attorney. There are a number of challenges to energizing customers in this market. Real estate laws are boring and complicated, and outside of the latest HGTV show, real estate in the real world isn’t terribly ‘sexy’. So, Closing Bear undertook to create an offering that educates customers and makes it fun and engaging at the same time. SOLE FOCUS
There are dozens of title companies in Jacksonville, but most people couldn’t name one. A big reason for that is other title companies merely treat closings as an additional revenue stream to their law firms. Look closely and you’ll see that the vast majority of title companies are really just extensions of law firms. But Closing Bear is not affiliated with any law firm, and its only business is closing real estate deals. If a customer calls one of the Closing Bear attorneys, they never find them unavailable because they are in court, or doing any other task that would take away from their closing.
In addition to teaching classes to realtors throughout Jacksonville, Closing Bear has a YouTube channel with educational content so each customer can learn about key issues for their deal in short, engaging videos. “We will continue filming ongoing content for our customers, but some current videos discuss how to read their financials, who has to sign the mortgage, and the dangers of wire fraud,” said Lynn.
There are some big rollouts about to happen with Closing Bear and tech, but most are still being held close to the vest. But, Closing Bear is at the forefront of Remote Online Notarization, and confirms that beginning in January 2020, their customers will be able to sign their closing documents remotely 24/7 via online notaries. “We are leveraging third party technologies through our strategic partners so our customers have the choice of closing their deal in one of our offices, while on vacation, or at home in their pajamas,” said Lynn.
Chip Lynn, CEO/Managing Attorney • Chip@ClosingBear.com • (904) 738-1672 • www.closingbear.com