How to Pick the Right Real Estate Agent

Scott and Sue decided to move to the tropical warmth of the Florida coast after years of living in Massachusetts. They decided to purchase a home before making the move, so they knew they had to find just the right real estate agent to help them with the process. After a few failed meetings with different agents, Scott and Sue contacted Sarah and Tim Caudill, a husband and wife real estate team in New Smyrna Beach, FL. Sarah and Tim helped them secure their dream home and today Scott and Sue are happily settled and living the Florida life in their dream home. Here are some of Scott and Sue’s top tips for picking a real estate agent!

  • Finding the right agent doesn’t just happen.

There are hundreds of real estate agents vying for your business, so how do you pick one? Scott and Sue thoroughly researched agents and read dozens of reviews on Zillow to find the agent that best fit them. While reading reviews, don’t just skim the page and tally up how many stars they have- really read through each review to get a good idea of what that agent is like to work with. Do they have multiple reviews highlighting how responsive and available they were? Finding an agent who is readily available and responds quickly is imperative in a home search.

“We called some agents and they wouldn’t even return our call,” Scott explained. One of the things that made Tim and Sarah stand out was their responsiveness, said Scott.

While looking at an agent’s Zillow reviews and profile, don’t be mesmerized by dozens of listings. Do you want to hire an agent who has 30 listings and multiple buyers all vying for their time and attention? Pick an agent with listings, but not so many listings that you will get lost in the crowd.

Finish your research by calling them up try to get to know them. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions, especially about their knowledge of the area or if they have sold many homes like the one you are looking for.

Finally, after talking with an agent but before declaring that you have found the one, check their license. Real estate agents must participate in continuing education in order to keep their license current and active. Check out your local Department of Business and Professional Regulation website and search under real estate licensees. Make sure their license says current and active. If their license is current and inactive or null and void, slowly step away!

Pro tip: Residents of Florida can download the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s app to look up licensees. Search DBPR Florida in the app store and download it to keep it at your fingertips!

  •  You don’t get what you don’t ask for.

Negotiating one of the largest investments you probably ever make isn’t for the faint of heart and shouldn’t be left to an amateur. A good agent has hundreds of negotiations under their belt and understands the best approach to take. Talk to your potential agent and ask them how they handle negotiations. Getting an agent skilled in negotiations can often mean the difference between purchasing the home of your dreams or watching the deal fall apart.

In addition to negotiation, a good agent will be your ally and help you navigate through the sea of paperwork that will be waiting for you once your offer is accepted. Questions will undoubtedly arise, so make sure you find a agent who is skilled in follow-up and thorough communication.

“Tim and Sarah always had the answers or got back to us right away about the paperwork,” said Scott. They really knew how to handle the paperwork and that just made the process easy, said Sue.

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  • It’s not just about the money.

Are you a client or a commission? An agent who loves their job will stand out- their energy, enthusiasm, dedication and integrity will make it crystal clear that it is not just about a commission for them. Additionally, a good agent will be honest with you and tell you the truth- even when you don’t want to hear it or when it could cost them a sale. The right agent will never push you to make an offer on a home you aren’t sure about or push you too far out of your budget.

“Tim and Sarah never pressured us to buy. You could tell that a sale didn’t matter to them- they just wanted to make sure we were happy. We even went to a few houses and they would say no, this isn’t a good deal for you and we wouldn’t even go in.,” said Scott, who appreciated their honesty.

There is a lot to consider when picking an agent. Follow these tips and don’t let the process intimidate you- the right agent will be with you every step of the way!

Happy house hunting!

 

 

5 Reasons Why Minorca Is Your Next Dream Beach Condo

The condo community of Minorca, located on the north end of the New Smyrna Beach, is a private oasis that instantly transports guests to their own private Mediterranean island the second they step foot on the property. While Minorca is just one of the hundreds of condo communities New Smyrna Beach has to offer, we think Minorca offers amenities that help make New Smyrna Beach one of the best beach communities in the world. Let’s dive in and explore why Minorca might be your next dream condo.

Minorca balcony view edited

1) Location, location, location

Minorca is perfectly located between three major waterways; the Atlantic Ocean, Ponce Inlet and the intercostal waterway. This location gives residents the unique opportunity to enjoy all three without ever leaving the north end of the island. Residents can dock and enjoy their boat on the intercostal waterway across the street from Minorca, fish in the inlet next to Minorca or ride the waves on the beach directly in front of Minorca.

Minorca from the sky

The inlet side of Minorca resides next to Smyrna Dunes Park. The park boasts 73 acres of land on the New Smyrna Beach peninsula and holds a treasure trove of wildlife, pristine beach, and two miles of elevated walkways. Dolphins, manatees and fish of all kind can be seen in the water, and fishing is allowed throughout the park. Smyrna Dunes Park is also one of the only dog-friendly beaches in New Smyrna, so Fido can enjoy the beach alongside you (just be sure to keep Fido leashed).

When it’s time to recharge with a good meal, a peaceful 2-mile stroll down the road will take you to the charming area of New Smyrna Beach known as Flagler Avenue. Flagler Ave is filled with quaint shopping, a foodie’s dream of restaurants and several art galleries. Indulge in some of the best pizza in New Smyrna at Third Wave Café and Wine bar and then stop by for a sweet treat at Beachside Candy Co. After that, follow your ears and you will be sure to find a local artists playing at one of the many local Flagler Ave restaurants.

2) Did you say amenities?

At Minorca, there is no shortage of amenities. The property offers several heated pools, a spa and sauna, fitness center, tennis courts, a clubhouse with a pool table and library, under-building parking, a beachside pavilion and 2 gated beach walk-overs, to name a few. Each unit also provides residents with breath taking views from a private balcony. There are seven buildings on the property, with the newest building completed in 2006 and offering the comfort of modern and updated units (310 units on the property to be exact).

3) Views for days

The views at Minorca are one-of-a-kind. Each private balcony provides an oasis to enjoy the unobstructed view of the sunrise or the sunset, as well as the calming sight of the Atlantic Ocean. Views of the famous Ponce Inlet Lighthouse can also be seen, enriching the history and charm of the area. The sprawling 65-acre community means that your view is of the landscape and scenery- not a parking lot.

Minorca from the balcony edited

4) Peace of mind

There is nothing like the secure feeling of a gated community. Minorca takes security seriously, and every visitor must be approved by a resident of Minorca to enter. The gatehouse entry is staffed 24/7 with a security guard and the property is regularly patrolled throughout the day and night. In addition, management is on-site, providing residents stress-free ownership.

5) Family-friendly

Located only one hour from Orlando, Minorca offers the luxury of beachside living while only a short drive to the mecca of amusement parks. Whether entertaining your own kids, grandkids, or looking for adventure yourself, Orlando offers a full range of entertainment for all ages. With Disney World, Universal Studios, and  Sea World all just a quick drive away, its hard not to see Minorca as the ultimate combination of beachside relaxation and family fun.

 

2015 Sales $6.537 Million

I am very honored to have helped so many families buy and sell property in Volusia County during 2015! Thank you for putting your trust in me!  I am looking forward to a great 2016!!

About Sarah Caudill, MBA

 www.SarahCaudill.com – Sarah Caudill epitomizes professionalism, commitment, and integrity in every detail of your real estate transaction.  Sarah is a Florida native who understands our unique market.  When selecting a real estate agent in New Smyrna Beach, Daytona Beach, Edgewater, Ponce Inlet, and Port Orange, strong knowledge of the community, strong negotiation skills, and a commitment to providing excellent service are all crucial elements.  Sarah helps both buyers and sellers meet their real estate objectives. Sarah will work tirelessly on your behalf to make your next home buying or home selling experience a pleasant and successful one.

Staging Your Home – Tips

Here are some of my best must-have tips when staging your home to sell.  What appeals to you may not appeal to buyers and I promise these tips will bring more money into your pocket as a seller.

Brand new appliances historically offer high returns to sellers.  Old appliances that make a kitchen look dated is a turn off to buyers.  Adding new appliances creates a “new kitchen” vibe that will bring in more money to sellers.  Stainless steel appliances are what most buyers look for.  “Slate” finishes are an up and coming trend that eliminates smudging on your appliances while still giving the stainless steel look.

Unpleasant household smells are a major turn off to buyers.  If you have pets make sure you shampoo the carpets or get rid of old carpet that has trapped bad odors.  Cinnamon and fresh smelling fragrances will help buyers feel more at home in your house.  Make sure you keep rugs clean, pets bathed, and linens fresh to avoid lingering odors.

Lots of light is important to buyers.  Buyers do not like dark spaces.  Open the blinds and curtains to let natural light in and be sure you have plenty of lamps.  Light-colored paint and light colored furniture will help improve your chances of a sale.

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Curb appeal is very important to bring in buyers.  Trim your bushes and make sure your yard has been mowed and edged.  Fresh paint on the exterior of your home will attract buyers.  Plant colorful flowers that are in bloom.  All these suggestions will improve your chances of a sale and eliminate phone calls canceling showings of your home.   Buyers have a tendency to drive by homes they like before they view the interior with their agent.  If the home lacks curb appeal, you will loose a buyer before they even step foot inside your home.

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Clear out clutter and items that may distract buyers when walking through your home.  Staging your home to show its potential is important to selling it.  Neutral paint tones are important and furnishings that highlight the functionality of your rooms is appealing.  You want buyers to picture their furniture in the room and be able to see themselves living here.

New Smyrna Beach Acreage Homes

Have you been looking for acreage in Florida?  New Smyrna Beach has some outstanding opportunities for buyers looking to purchase acreage and live close to the beach.

Here are 50 homes with at least 2.5 acres in New Smyrna Beach and the surrounding areas:  CLICK HERE

Here is vacant land with at least 2.5 acres in New Smyrna Beach and the surrounding areas:  CLICK HERE

We are seeing a common thread in buyers that are recognizing the highest and best quality properties as irreplaceable and those that are priced at fair market value are receiving the majority of the activity.  However, the homes and land with substantial challenges or properties that are perceived as being overpriced are not garnering much attention.

How long will it take to sell my home in New Smyrna Beach FL?

Views from Ebb Tide - www.sarahcaudill.com

Views from Ebb Tide – http://www.sarahcaudill.com

New Smyrna Beach Realtor

One of the first questions that sellers typically ask me is “How long will it take for my home to sell?”  This is not a simple question to answer.  There are many factors that go into selling your property.  Homes can sell the week they are listed and others take longer for that right buyer to come along.  Consider the following elements below when estimating how long it will take to sell your New Smyrna Beach home.

1. The Market –  

The most significant factor impacting the length of time it will take for your home to sell is the current condition of the housing market.  If the housing market is strong, your home will sell more quickly than when the housing market is performing poorly.  The good news is, the housing market in New Smyrna Beach is performing well as our inventory is low and demand is high in our city.

2. Interest Rates – 

Interest rates fluctuate daily.  When interest rates are high, buyers will be more hesitant to apply for a new loan.  When they are low, buyers are more likely to shop for a new house and apply for a mortgage.  Buyers can spend more on a home when interest rates are low.  This may bring additional buyers into the price range of your home.

3. Competition – 

Your home may take longer to sell if there is lots of competition in your neighborhood.  For example, if a buyer has made up their mind to buy a home under $275,000 in Venetian Bay and your home is one of three listed in that price range in Venetian Bay, buyers will more than likely consider your home.  However, if there are many homes in the same price range with similar features and amenities, buyers may not be as interested in your home.

4. Marketing – 

If buyers are not aware that your home is on the market, they will not come look at your home.  To sell your home quickly, it must be marketed effectively.  To be sure that your home has the best exposure, you need to find a New Smyrna Beach Realtor that is an expert on this area and who will invest their own money to advertise your property to the right buyers.

Visit my website at http://www.sarahcaudill.com to learn more about me and read my testimonials from buyers and sellers who have worked with me.  Contact me today to learn more about listing your home for sale.

Where is New Smyrna Beach in the Current Real Estate Cycle?

New Smyrna Beach's Minorca Condos

New Smyrna Beach’s Minorca Condos

With the volume of single family home sales up 17.9% in February 2015 and condo sales up 15.6% compared to February 2014, it is easy to see that the real estate scene in New Smyrna Beach is seeing an unprecedented real estate boom not seen since the real estate market tanked.

The 2015 real estate market overall here in New Smyrna Beach is seeing less inventory evident by 7.9% less single family homes on the market and 3.3% less condos and townhouses on the market in February 2015 than February 2014.

This time, the market is being fueled by rich Central Floridians and out-of-town investors who are looking and eager to purchase in financially solid regions and to be part of projects established by experienced developers. New Smyrna is being recognized as an exciting place to own a condo or beach side home, and a great location in the county to get out of the rough northern winters.

The current real estate cycle differs drastically from the pre-market crash cycle in that it is much healthier as no one is taking big risks.  Investors are only looking to support financially strong projects with experienced developers in the drivers seat.

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February 2015 NSB Board Stats | http://www.sarahcaudill.com

February 2015 Single Family Homes NSB Board of Realtors Statistics

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February 2015 NSB Board Stats | http://www.sarahcaudill.com

February 2015 Condo and Townhome NSB Statistics

To search the current MLS listings in Volusia county directly:  Click Here

How to Create the Perfect Pro-Style Kitchen

Pro-Style Kitchen | New Smyrna Beach | www.sarahcaudill.com

Pro-Style Kitchen | New Smyrna Beach | http://www.sarahcaudill.com

All homeowners who cook need a beautiful kitchen that provides them with the tools to efficiently and effectively prepare meals.  Having top level appliances, the correct layout, the right counter surfaces, deep sinks, and plenty of storage is essential.  In the real estate world we use terms like “gourmet kitchen” to describe a kitchen that has easy to maintain surfaces and an abundant amount of storage that a “chef” would incorporate in their kitchen.  These professional tools will make your kitchen a realm of “culinary magic”.

1.  Lighting – Having the right lighting in your kitchen is important.  The best kitchens have adequate lighting in the food prep areas and modern pendent lighting over the kitchen eating areas.  Recessed lighting is popular as it effectively brightens your entire kitchen.

2.  Kitchen Layout – Homeowners that enjoy cooking and being involved with friends and family prefer open kitchen layouts.  Kitchen layouts that flow into family and entertainment areas are chosen.  Having multiple food prep areas allow for multiple “chefs” in the house.  Consider a kitchen island or dual sinks.

3.  Counter Surfaces – If you plan on spending time in the kitchen, it is essential to invest in surfaces that will not scratch if cut on, not be stained easily, and not be burned if a hot pan or bowl of hot food is placed on them.  Durable surfaces such as granite and quartz that will withstand the normal wear of cooking are typically chosen for kitchen counter surfaces.

4.  Appliances – Professional level appliances provide added features that make it worth the extra money.  For example, professional-grade refrigerators often allow the owner to keep multiple temperatures for separate food storage compartments to keep food the freshest.  Stainless steel appliances and appliances that are hidden with matching cabinet doors are still popular.

To receive information about how much your kitchen contributes to the overall value of your home please contact me HERE.

5 Things You Should Do Before You Move Into Your New House

1.  Change out the Locks – The first thing you should do after leaving the closing table at the Title Company and receiving the keys is to change the locks of your new home.  You do not know who all has had keys to the home in the past and you want to ensure that you are the sole person with access to your home.  It is very inexpensive to change out the locks yourself or call a locksmith.

2.  Have your A/C Ducts Cleaned Out – Next, you should hire a duct cleaning service to clean out the ducts of your home.  It costs about $400 and will drastically improve the air quality in your new home.

3.  Clean the Carpets – Prior to moving in your furniture and personal belongings, you should steam clean the carpeted areas within your new home.  You have two options to have this work done.  It costs about $50 per day to rent a steam cleaner and do the work yourself or you can hire a professional carpet cleaner for about $50 per room.

4.  Pest Control – Ask a local pest control company to come out and treat the home for unwanted guests including roaches, ants, and spiders.  Depending on your location you might also want the home treated for mice and termites.

5.  Familiarize Yourself with the Location of the Main Water Valve and the Circuit Breaker Box – Make sure to test and ensure all of the switches in the breaker box are labeled appropriately.  It is important to know which switches control the different areas of your new house.  Also, it is good to know where the main water valve shut off is.  You always want to be prepared with that knowledge in case of a plumbing emergency situation.

For more information on important things to do when purchasing your new home, click here 

How to Prepare to Sell Your Home

New Smyrna Beach Real Estate

New Smyrna Beach Real Estate

You can do a lot to increase the appeal of your property and to create a lasting impact on potential buyers.

What To Do To Prepare:

The following are a couple of factors to keep in mind when listing your property for sale:

1.  Curb Appeal.

Keeping your landscape pristine, and adding creative touches to your yard, such as colorful flowers, will create an immediate impact on passers-by and potential buyers.

2.  Property Repairs.

Simple upgrades such as window repairs, polishing the doorknobs, and a fresh coat of paint in the most frequently used rooms will instantly brighten up the property.

3.  Cleanliness and Staging.

Keep your property uncluttered, sweet-smelling and well-lit from top-to-bottom. Pay attention to details: put away the kitty litter, place a vase of fresh flowers near the entryway, pop a batch of cinnamon rolls in the oven, have your carpets cleaned.

4.  Disclosures and Inspections.

I am very familiar with the legal procedures involved in disclosures and will help you develop a thorough disclosure statement beneficial to both you and the buyer, as well as suggest home improvement measures before placing your property on the market (such as termite and pest inspections).

5.  Showtime.

Presenting your property to potential buyers is a job that I will take care of for you. Buyers feel more comfortable discussing the property if you are not there. Moreover, I will know what information will be most useful in representing your interests when speaking with prospective buyers.

For more information on how to prepare to sell your home and the selling process please visit my website: http://sarahcaudill.com/sellers/decide-to-sell/

To List your home in Volusia County, call me today at 386-295-8664 or email sarah@sarahcaudill.com.