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Increasing Wealth Through Homeownership – Emerald Coast RE

increasing wealth through homeownership

Some argue that renting eliminates the cost of property taxes and home repairs. Every potential renter must realize that all the expenses the landlord incurs (property taxes, repairs, insurance, etc.) are already baked into the rent payment – along with a profit margin. You don’t save money by renting.

The Importance of Home Equity in Building Wealth

Increasing Wealth Through Homeownership

Let’s talk about increasing wealth through homeownership.  Homeownership has always been the first rung on the ladder leading to household wealth. As Freddie Mac recently posted:

“Homeownership has cemented its role as part of the American Dream, providing families with a place that is their own and an avenue for building wealth over time. This ‘wealth’ is built, in large part, through the creation of equity…Building equity through your monthly principal payments and appreciation is a critical part of homeownership that can help you create financial stability.”

What is Home Equity?

Home equity is the difference between the current market value of your house and the amount you currently owe on your mortgage. To estimate your equity, subtract your mortgage balance from the market value of your home.

You can find what you owe on your mortgage by looking at your last monthly statement or by contacting your lender. If you need help determining the current market value of your home, contact a local real estate professional.

Is homeownership truly a better path to wealth than renting?

Some argue that renting eliminates the cost of property taxes and home repairs. Every potential renter must realize that all the expenses the landlord incurs (property taxes, repairs, insurance, etc.) are already baked into the rent payment – along with a profit margin. You don’t save money by renting.  You are saving money, by increasing wealth through homeownership.

As proof of this, First American broke down the net worth of homeowners and renters by income categories. Here are their findings:The Importance of Home Equity in Building Wealth | MyKCM Only one income category ($127-192K) has a higher net worth for renters over homeowners. Every other category shows that being a homeowner leads to greater accumulated wealth.

According to the latest Homeowner Equity Insights Report from CoreLogic, the average homeowner gained $17,000 in equity in just the last year. Here’s a breakdown of the year-over-year equity gain by state:The Importance of Home Equity in Building Wealth | MyKCM

When can you cash in on your housing wealth?

Your home equity is part of your total wealth as a homeowner. The two most common ways homeowners can leverage their wealth are:

  • Selling
  • Refinancing

Selling: When you decide to sell your home, the equity you’ve built over time will come back to you in the sale. For example, if you paid off your $200,000 mortgage and sold your home for $350,000, you would receive $150,000 after closing.

Refinancing: You can refinance your current mortgage and take out some of the equity you have accumulated. With today’s historically low mortgage rates, you may be able to take out substantial cash and keep your monthly payment the same. Thankfully, homeowners today are doing this responsibly and not repeating the same mistakes made in 2006-2008 when some cashed out their entire equity to purchase luxury items like new cars, lavish vacations, etc.

How can these options help homeowners?

During these difficult times, many households are struggling with their housing expenses. Homeowners, because of their equity, have better alternatives. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, recently explained that homeowners financially impacted by the pandemic will not necessarily be faced with foreclosure:

“The foreclosure process is based on two steps. First, the homeowner suffers an adverse economic shock…leading to the homeowner becoming delinquent on their mortgage. However, delinquency by itself is not enough to send a mortgage into foreclosure. With enough equity, a homeowner has the option of selling their home, or tapping into their equity through a refinance, to help weather the economic shock.”

What might the future bring?

Most experts are calling for home prices to continue appreciating going forward. The Home Price Expectation Survey, a survey of a national panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment & market strategists, indicates appreciation will continue for at least the next five years. Using their annual projections, the graph below shows the equity build-up a purchaser would potentially earn by buying a $300,000 home this January:The Importance of Home Equity in Building Wealth | MyKCM

Bottom Line

Home equity, for most Americans, is the quickest way to build household wealth. That wealth gives homeowners more options during good times and in difficult situations.

Are you increasing your wealth through homeownership?  To learn more, reach out to our team.  With two office locations, Life’s A Beach Real Estate located in Panama City Beach.  And Life’s A Beach Luxury Real Estate located in Destin.  We are here to help you find your piece of paradise.

 

 

 

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Turning A House Into A Happy Home – Emerald Coast RE

Happy Home

We talk a lot about why it makes financial sense to buy a home, but more often than not, we’re drawn to the emotional reasons for homeownership.

Turning a House into a Happy Home Along The Emerald Coast

Happy homes along the Emerald Coast, without a doubt the location makes for a “happy home”, but what are other areas that make a happy home?

We talk a lot about why it makes financial sense to buy a home, but more often than not, we’re drawn to the emotional reasons for homeownership.

No matter the living space, the feeling of a home means different things to different people. Whether it’s a certain scent or a favorite chair, the feel-good connections to our own homes are typically more important to us than the financial ones. Here are some of the reasons why.

1. Owning your home is an accomplishment worth celebrating

You’ve likely worked very hard to achieve this dream, and whether it’s your first home or your fifth, congratulations are in order for this milestone. You’ve earned it.

2. There’s no place like home

Owning your own home offers not only safety and security but also a comfortable place where you can simply relax and kick-back after a long day. Sometimes, that’s just what we need to feel recharged and truly content.

3. You can find more space to meet your needs

Whether you want more room in your home for your changing lifestyle (think: working from home, virtual school, or a personal gym), or you simply prefer to have a large backyard for socially-distant entertaining, you can invest in a location that truly works for your evolving needs.

4. You have control over renovations, updates, and your style

Looking to try one of those complicated wall treatments you saw on Pinterest? Tired of paying an additional pet deposit for your apartment building? Maybe you want to finally adopt that fur-baby puppy or kitten you’ve been hoping for. You can do all of these things in your own home.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer, investment buyer, or a move-up buyer who wants to start a new chapter in your life, now is a great time to reflect on the intangible factors that turn a house into a happy home.

To learn more, reach out to our team.  With two office locations, Life’s A Beach Real Estate located in Panama City Beach.  And Life’s A Beach Luxury Real Estate located in Destin.  We are here to help you find your piece of paradise.

 

 

 

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Real Estate in 2021, Three Reasons to be Optimistic – Emerald Coast RE

Real Estate in 2021

Experts forecast that buyers and sellers are going to be active in 2021.

Real Estate in 2021, Three  Reasons to be Optimistic

 

Real estate in 2021 looks positive along the Emerald Coast.  As we reflect on this last year, we have all been through a lot.  2020 will be remembered for many reasons, and optimism is one thing that’s been in short supply since the spring. We’re experiencing a global pandemic, social unrest, an economic downturn, and natural disasters, just to name a few. The challenges brought on by the health crisis have also forced many homeowners to reevaluate their space and what they need in a home going into 2021. So, experts are forecasting that next year is one in which we can be optimistic about real estate for three key reasons.

1. The Economy Is Expected to Continue Improving

Tim Duy from the University of Oregon puts it this way:

“There is nothing fundamentally ‘broken’ in the economy that needs to heal…there was no obvious financial bubble driving excessive activity in any one economic sector when the pandemic hit…With Covid-19 cases surging again, it is understandably hard to look optimistically to the other side of this winter…Don’t let the near-term challenges distract from the economic stage being set for next four years.”

2. Interest Rates Are Projected to Stay Low

In the latest projections from Freddie Mac, interest rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage are expected to remain at or near 3% next year. These low rates will continue to make homes more affordable, driving demand for housing in 2021.3 Reasons to Be Optimistic about Real Estate in 2021 | MyKCM

3. Future Home Sales Are Forecasted to Grow while the economy improves and interest rates remain low, homes are also expected to continue appreciating as more people buy in the coming year. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.comsays:

“We expect home sales in 2021 to come in 7.0% above 2020 levels, following a more normal seasonal trend and building momentum through the spring and sustaining the pace in the second half of the year.”

Bottom Line

Experts forecast that buyers and sellers are going to be active in 2021. If you’ve thought about buying or selling your home this year but have held off, now may be the time to take advantage of this market. Let’s connect to take the first step toward your new home today.

To learn more, reach out to our team.  With two office locations, Life’s A Beach Real Estate located in Panama City Beach.  And Life’s A Beach Luxury Real Estate located in Destin.  We are here to help you find your piece of paradise.

 

 

 

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Holiday Season Along the Emerald Coast

Holiday Season

One would think that December along the Gulf Coast would not be festive. Well, I can attest, it is joyful, it is beautiful…and it is the best place to celebrate the Holidays.

The Holiday Season Along the Emerald Coast.

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”

One would think that December along the Gulf Coast would not be festive. Well, I can attest, it is joyful, it is beautiful…and it is the best place to celebrate the Holidays.  In my opinion, Christmas shopping at Pier Park or the Silver Sands is the best way to shop.

Rather than being stuck inside a brick and mortar mall, you walk the shops’ sidewalks in the outdoor malls. 

The weather is mild, the salt air is festive, and the shops and streets play joyful Christmas songs. No better way to get in the Holiday Spirit!

The beaches are quieter, with plenty of activity from people who want to spend the Holidays at the beach.

The start of snowbird season.

The majority of our snowbirds have not come down yet, although some early bird snowbirds are migrating down. We are always happy to see them come back as they are part of our community!

I bring up snowbirds along the Emerald Coast, as they are an essential demographic for the local economy and our vacation property investors.

Many snowbirds come to the Emerald Coast along the Panhandle starting in November when the beach vacation season winds down. They stay in our local areas anywhere from 2 – 5 months, and they come back year after year. The snowbirds eat at our local restaurants, and they occupy our vacation rentals when reservations can be sporadic.

As a result, property investors along the Emerald Coast appreciate our snowbirds.

Life’s A Beach brokerage has developed relationships with many snowbirds.  We are a direct line of contact who might have an available vacation property to rent.

Helping snowbirds connect with investment property owners is a win-win, as we are helping our investors on their return on investment. And we are assisting snowbirds in enjoying their time living the dream in paradise along the Panhandle.

Update on the “Diamond In The Rough”

Speaking of investment property, here is an update on our “diamond in the rough.” Flooring, paint, crown molding, new showers, and cabinets are all completed! Now we wait for,…wait for it…the quartz countertops. They need to be measured, cut, and then installed. We are getting there; we now have a projected timeline of being complete in January.

We are getting there! And I can’t wait to share the before and after pictures!!

 

Connect With Life’s A Beach Real Estate

To learn more, reach out to the Life’s A Beach Real Estate team. We are here to help you find your piece of paradise.  We have agents in Panama City Beach and surrounding areas.  As well as the Destin San Destin 30A area.

 

 

 

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Remote Work Driving Sales Of Vacation Homes

Vacation Homes

Buyers are taking advantage of the fact, that working from home might be someplace other than their primary residence. Many are relocating to the beaches along the Emerald Coast.

Remote Work Driving Vacation Home Sales

This year, the opportunity to work remotely has increased the demand for vacation homes. Gay Cororaton, Senior Economist and Director of Housing and Commercial Research at the National Association of Realtors (NAR) notes:

“Working from home is a positive factor in demand for vacation homes.”

What does this mean for real estate along the Emerald Coast?

Buyers are taking advantage of the fact that working from home might be someplace other than their primary residence – at the beach, along the Emerald Coast, in the mountains, or somewhere in between. NAR explains:

Sales in vacation-home counties increased 48% on average year over year in the third quarter; overall, 81% of vacation-home counties saw a year-over-year sales increase.”

Is it Time to Sell Your Vacation Home?

If you’ve been thinking about selling your vacation home, putting it on the market now while demand is high might be your best move. Here are two reasons why.

1. Vacation Homes Are Selling Quickly

Homes and condos are not staying in the market for very long. NAR also notes:

In September, 68% of vacation homes sold in less than a month. Historically, about 30% sell that quickly…It’s a pretty amazing uptick compared to past years.”

2. Home Prices Are Rising

With an increase in demand, prices go up. NAR continues:

“In the third quarter, prices in vacation-home counties rose by about 32% year over year. Seventy-nine percent of these counties experienced year-over-year price gains. NAR defines a vacation-home county as one in which seasonal housing accounts for at least 20% of stock.”

If your vacation home is sitting idle, maybe not attracting as many renters as you usually see, or if you simply want to sell it so you can trade up or take it off your worry list, now may be the time. Demand is high, so you’re in the ideal spot to get a stronger return on your investment today.

Bottom Line

Demand is on the rise, so let’s discuss your next steps when it comes to selling your vacation home.

To learn more, reach out to our team.  With two office locations, Life’s A Beach Real Estate located in Panama City Beach.  And Life’s A Beach Luxury Real Estate located in Destin.  We are here to help you find your piece of paradise.

 

 

 

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Will Mortgage Rates Remain Low Next Year?

Mortgage Rates

In 2020, buyers got a big boost in the housing market as mortgage rates dropped throughout the year, which is good news for the PCB Real Estate Market.

Will Mortgage Rates Remain Low Next Year?

In 2020, buyers got a big boost in the housing market as mortgage rates dropped throughout the year. According to Freddie Mac, rates hit all-time lows 12 times this year, dipping below 3% for the first time.  Making buying a home or condo along the Panhandle’s Emerald Coast more and more attractive as the year progressed (See graph below):

Will Mortgage Rates Remain Low Next Year? | MyKCMWhen you continually hear how rates are hitting record lows, you may be wondering: Are they going to keep falling? Should I wait until they get even lower?

The Challenge With Waiting.

The challenge with waiting is that you can easily miss this optimal window of time and then end up paying more in the long run.  Not to mention, you may miss out on the perfect Emerald Coast beach home.  Last week, mortgage rates ticked up slightly. Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, explains:

Mortgage rates jumped this week as a result of positive news about a COVID-19 vaccine. Despite this rise, mortgage rates remain about a percentage point below a year ago.”

Mortgage Rates Are Still Lower Today Than They Were One Year Ago.

As the economy continues to get stronger and the pandemic is resolved, there’s an excellent chance that interest rates will rise again.  Several top institutions in the real estate industry are projecting an increase in rates over the next four quarters (See chart below):Will Mortgage Rates Remain Low Next Year? | MyKCM

If you’re planning to wait until next year or later, Mike Fratantoni, Chief Economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), forecasts mortgage rates will begin to rise steadily.Will Mortgage Rates Remain Low Next Year? | MyKCM As a buyer, you need to decide if waiting makes financial sense for you.

Bottom Line

If you’re planning to buy a home or condo along the Emerald Coast, don’t wait.  Take advantage of today’s low rates. Now is the time to do so. Please don’t assume they’re going to stay this low forever.

 

To learn more, reach out to the Life’s A Beach Real Estate team. We are here to help you find your piece of paradise.  We have agents in Panama City Beach and surrounding areas.  As well as the Destin San Destin 30A area.

 

 

 

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Working From Home?

Working From Home

Working from home, PCB style.  Businesses all over the country have figured out how to operate remotely and the trend may continue. What better area to work from than Panama City Beach!

Why Working from Home May Spark Your Next Move

If you’ve been working from home this year, chances are you’ve been at it a little longer than you initially expected. Businesses all over the country have figured out how to operate remotely to keep their employees healthy, safe, and productive. For many, it may be carrying into next year and possibly beyond.

While the pandemic continues, Americans re-evaluate their homes, floorplans, locations, needs, and more. Some need more space, while others need less. Whether you’re renting or own your home, if remote work is part of your future, you may be thinking about moving, especially while today’s mortgage rates are so low.

Why Move To Panama City Beach?

Now, if you live in the Panama City Beach area, odds are you do not want to move away if you have the option of working from home…However, if your work-life allows a move to PCB, now is the time!  Imagine taking that zoom call while sitting on your deck overlooking The Gulf of Mexico!  Or maybe you are sitting out by your pool…why not enjoy the beach life work life!!

A recent study from Upwork notes:

“Anywhere from 14 to 23 million Americans are planning to move as a result of remote work.”

To put this into perspective, last year, 6 million homes were sold in the U.S. This means roughly 2 – 4X as many people are considering moving now, and there’s a direct connection to their ability to work from home.

The same study also notes while 45.3% of people are planning to stay within a 2-hour drive from their current location, 41.5% of the people who are citing working from home as their primary reason for making a move are willing to look for a home more than 4 hours away from where they live now (See graph below):Why Working from Home May Spark Your Next Move | MyKCM In some cases, moving a little further away from your current location might mean you can get more home for your money. If you can work remotely, you may have more options available by expanding your search. Upwork also indicates, of those surveyed:

“People are seeking less expensive housing: Altogether, more than half (52.5%) are planning to move to a house that is significantly more affordable than their current home.”

Whether you can eliminate your daily commute to the office or you need more space to work from home, your plans may be changing. If that’s the case, it’s time to connect with a local real estate professional to assess your evolving needs and determine your path together.

Bottom Line

This has been a year of change, and what you need in a home is no exception.  This year has taught us to appreciate the little thing’s in life more.  Don’t wait…buy the beach house…in PCB!  Let’s connect today to ensure you have expert guidance on your side to help you find a home that fits your remote work needs.

To learn more, reach out to the Life’s A Beach Real Estate team. We are here to help you find your piece of paradise.  We have agents in Panama City Beach and surrounding areas.  As well as the Destin San Destin 30A area.

 

 

 

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What Is Panama City Beach Like In November?

In November

In November, the hurricane season is winding down, the weather is still lovely, and the beaches are beautiful.

In November, What Is Panama City Beach Like?

Panama City Beach in November is spectacular!

The hurricane season is winding down, the weather is still lovely, and the beaches are beautiful.

One of the big attractions in Panama City Beach in November is Emerald Coast Cruizin Car Show. This year the event is scheduled for November 11 -14th…if you haven’t made your plans to attend the event yet, you really should. Or find a spot to pop a squat on Front Beach Rd, and watch the parade of classic cars driving by. And hey, on that note, you could pop a squat on the patio in front of our Life’s A Beach Real Estate office located in the Origin At Seahaven condominium building next to Saltwater Marketplace directly across the street from Sharkey’s. And if you do, stop in and say Hi! 

Renovation Update

Segueing from what’s happening in November in Panama City Beach, just a quick update on our RENOVATION project. The contractors are currently piecing back together after the condo’s complete gutting and incorporating the design upgrades. 

Check out the progress on the photo updates Progress photos 11.7.

When I have before and after pictures after the renovation are complete to share, I will.  And of course, I cannot wait for it to get done so I can share it!

 

More Events In November

Ok, back to what’s happening in Panama City Beach in November? This past weekend, Nov 7th, was the IRONMAN Florida event. While I envy the dedication of the athletes that attend this event every year…I can’t imagine how challenging it would be to go through those races! I mean, they start in the morning swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, followed by a bicycle course on the streets of Panama City Beach and surrounding areas. After that is the running event, which takes the athletes through St. Andrew’s State Park, a magnificent setting; the athletes could not ask for a better location than our beautiful city PCB to compete. 

Ok, Ok…I have to wonder if any of the athletes end up at the Grand Lagoon Bloody Mary & Music Fest when they finish competing…? Which was also this past weekend. My pick of the two events was the Music Fest…this This is the 5th year that they celebrated bloody marys and music in Panama City Beach.

Those are just some highlighted events, be there is so much more happening in November. Happy Hour, Low Country Boil, Off The Hook Comedy, Paint Parties, Scavenger Hunt…and much more. Check out Panama City Beach Events to learn more.

PCB Real Estate

With all of that, we haven’t even mentioned the state of the real estate market in Panama City Beach and surrounding areas. Even though the temps are cooling, the PCB real estate market is staying HOT! Our agents are receiving same-day offers on new listings, and the inventory remains tight, and prices continue to appreciate! 

To learn more, reach out to the Life’s A Beach Real Estate team. We are here to help you find your piece of paradise.  We have agents in Panama City Beach and surrounding areas.  As well as the Destin San Destin 30A area.

 

 

 

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Election 2020 Panama City Beach Real Estate Market Outlook

Election 2020

Tomorrow is the day, election 2020.  Americans will decide our President for the next four years. That decision will have a major impact on many aspects of life in this country, but the residential real estate market in the Panama City Beach area and surrounding areas will not be one of them.

4 Reasons Why Election 2020 Won’t Dampen the Panama City Beach Housing Market

 

 

Analysts will try to measure the impact of election 2020 and possible changes in regulations.  The experts will be watching how the potential changes might have an impact on housing programs.  Despite potential changes,  the housing market overall and in Panama City Beach will remain strong for four reasons:

1. Demand Is Strong among Millennials

The nation’s largest generation began entering the housing market last year.  As they reached the age to marry and have children – two key drivers of homeownership. As the Wall Street Journal recently reported:

“Millennials, long viewed as perennial home renters who were reluctant or unable to buy, are now emerging as a driving force in the U.S. housing market’s recent recovery.”

2. Mortgage Rates Are Historically Low

All-time low-interest rates are also driving demand across all generations. Strong demand created by this rate drop has countered other economic disruptions (e.g., pandemic, recession, record unemployment).

In addition, Freddie Mac just forecasted mortgage rates to remain low through next year:

“One of the main drivers of the strong housing recovery is historically low mortgage interest rates…Given weakness in the broader economy, the Federal Reserve’s signal that its policy rate will remain low until inflation picks up, and no signs of inflation, we forecast mortgage rates to remain flat over the next year. From the third quarter of 2020 through the end of 2021, we forecast mortgage rates to remain unchanged at 3%.”

3. Prices Continue to Appreciate

The continued lack of supply of existing homes for sale coupled with the surge in buyer demand has experts forecasting strong price appreciation over the next twelve months.

4. History Says So

Though it’s true that the market slows slightly in November when it’s a Presidential election year, the pace returns quickly. Here’s an explanation as to why from the Homebuilding Industry Report by BTIG:

“This may indicate that potential homebuyers may become more cautious in the face of national election uncertainty. This caution is temporary, and ultimately results in deferred sales, as the economy, jobs, interest rates and consumer confidence all have far more meaningful roles in the home purchase decision than a Presidential election result in the months that follow.”

Ali Wolf, Chief Economist for Meyers Research, also notes:

“History suggests that the slowdown is largely concentrated in the month of November. In fact, the year after a presidential election is the best of the four-year cycle. This suggests that demand for new housing is not lost because of election uncertainty, rather it gets pushed out to the following year as long as the economy stays on track.”

Bottom Line

No matter the timing, when you are ready to enter the real estate market in Panama City Beach or surrounding areas, reach out to the Life’s A Beach Real Estate team.  We are here to help you find your piece of paradise.

 

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Selling Real Estate In Panama City Beach

Selling Real Estate

PCB Real Estate Market Outlook: Selling Real Estate. When the demand for homes is higher than what is available for sale, it is a great time to be selling real estate.

Three Ways Low Inventory Is A Win For Sellers That Are Selling Real Estate In Panama City Beach

 

Now is a good time to be selling real estate in Panama City Beach.  The number of houses and condos that sellers are selling in PCB as well as nationally is significantly lower than the high buyer activity in the current housing market. According to Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

“There is no shortage of hopeful, potential buyers, but inventory is historically low.”

When the demand for homes is higher than what’s available for sale, it’s a great time for homeowners to sell their house. Here are three ways low inventory can help you win if you’re ready to make a move this fall.

1. Higher Prices

With so many more buyers in the Panama City Beach market as well as the national market than homes available for sale, homebuyers may enter into bidding wars for the houses or condo’s they want to purchase. This buyer competition drives home prices up. As a seller, this can definitely work to your advantage, potentially netting you more for your house when you close the deal.

2. Greater Return on Your Investment

Rising prices mean homes and condos are also gaining value, which drives an increase in the equity you have.  In the latest Homeowner Equity Insights ReportCoreLogic explains:

“In the second quarter of 2020, the average homeowner gained approximately $9,800 in equity.”

This year-over-year growth in equity gives you the ability to put that money toward a down payment on your next home or to keep it as extra savings.

3. Better Terms

When we’re in a sellers’ market like we are today, you’re in the driver’s seat if you sell your house. You have the power to sell on your terms, and buyers are more likely to work with you if it means they can finally move into their dream home.

So, is low housing inventory a big deal?

Yes, especially if you want to sell your house at the perfect time. Today’s market gives sellers immense negotiating power. However, it won’t last forever, especially as more sellers return to the housing market next year. If you’re considering selling your house, the best time to do so is now.

Bottom Line

If you’re interested in taking advantage of the current sellers’ market in Panama City Beach and the surrounding area’s, reach out to the Life’s A Beach Real Estate team, we would be happy to help!