Investment properties can be a huge profitable venture. Many options to consider, and with an experienced Realtor, will increase your final investment dollars.

Want to buy an investment property? Refinance or renovate an existing home? Found a property you love but the renovations could be a nightmare?

I’ve been helping buyers and sellers for 20 years, and many of my clients are lifetime customers that have grown their future equity “portfolio” with my creative ideas and assistance one property at a time.

Myth #1: There is a lot of paperwork for the 203k loan.

Let’s be honest with each other, there is a lot of paperwork involved when getting a mortgage… period. No matter what type of loan you will be asked to provide required paperwork and additional information the lender asks for. There is additional paperwork needed for the 203k loan but is it mounds and mounds more? No, not at all.

Myth #2: Sellers won’t accept that kind of financing.

Many sellers and realtors believe that they will not be paid until the renovation project has been completed. However, this is untrue. All the renovation/upgrade work is done after closing when both the seller and realtor are paid.

In fact, it can benefit a stubborn seller or help sell a bank owned property because the home is sold “as-is” meaning, repairs don’t need to be made prior to the closing of the sale. Not even a conventional loan can offer that, with a conventional loan any health or safety violation of any kind must be fixed prior to closing.

Myth #3 Only FHA approved contractors can be used.

FHA approved contractors are not a real thing. The FHA does not have a list of contractors you must use or a list of those who you can’t. It’s true, you may come across contractors that advertise their experience with 203k but that does not make them a preferred or approved FHA or similar lender contractor. Hiring a contractor who has gone through the process of a 203k is a good idea because he or she is familiar and can help talk through things. But most 203K qualified Mortgage lenders may have their own network of choice of contractors.

Myth #4: FHA 203k loans are only for homes needing major repairs.

Almost all homes qualify for 203k financing except for homes built within the last 12 months. Homes in need of major work and homes with minor changes- like new cabinets or interior paint can qualify. In fact, the 203k Loan is a great solution as a refinance for properties which don’t have a lot of equity in them.

Myth #5: It takes several months to close a 203k Loan.

The process to close a 203k Loan should not take any longer than 45-60 days. If you are working with an inexperienced lender, the FHA 203k or any other kind of a home loan can be a long, drawn out process. However, if you are working with an experienced 203k team and both the homebuyer and realtor do what is required the 203k will run smoothly. If you are considering a 203k Loan, be sure to have a consultation with your mortgage banker at the start to ensure everyone is on the same page!

One of my partners, “AnnieMac Home Mortgage” will give you the widest range of options and the best customer service available in the home lending industry.

Before you put your house on the market, ask me for guidance on improving your home’s presentation. I can tell you what buyers expect in your particular market and at your home’s price point. The following 10 steps are a way to get a good head start on preparing to sell your home.

1. Welcome buyers. Make your front door visible and accessible to buyers. Paint the door, clear debris and clutter from the walkway and yard, mow the lawn and prune hedges. Pot or plant colorful annuals and perennials to attract attention from the street. Fix broken screens, doorbells, roof tiles, shingles and outdoor lighting, and replace your doormat. Exterior defects can make a poor first impression on buyers.

2. Make it sparkle. Cleanliness implies a home has been well taken care of, so deep cleaning can win points with buyers. Buyers scrutinize homes, especially kitchens and bathrooms. Recaulk and repaint to give these grime-prone rooms a fresh and clean look. Clean rugs and carpets to eliminate unsightly stains or dinginess and eliminate odors. Tidy each room, including cabinets, closets and the garage, before showing. And if it seems daunting to do all that cleaning yourself, consider hiring a professional cleaning company to take care of all of it for you.

3. Start packing. Cramped and cluttered rooms turn buyers off and make your house look smaller. A home packed with your personal belongings also makes it difficult for others to envision living there. Start by storing away excess furniture, toys and personal decorations, such as family photos. Pack up things you don’t use on a daily basis, and put them in storage or ask a friend to hold onto them. Decluttering your house also gives you a head start on your move.

4. Paint wisely. A well-done, no-frills paint job is all you need. Put a fresh coat of paint on white or beige walls, and repaint walls that have eccentric or unconventional colors. Nature- and spa-inspired neutral colors, such as taupe and subtle gray, are the best choices. Definitely don’t forget the trim and molding either. And a fresh paint job on outdated or worn cabinetry goes a long way, too.

5. Fix the small stuff. Repair or replace broken or outdated hardware throughout your home. You can install new door handles, faucets, towel bars and curtain rods – fixtures that are readily visible to homebuyers – rather inexpensively. New hardware in the bathroom, kitchen and on windows and doors also improves the functionality and safety of these components.

6. Update lighting. Replace decorative light fixtures that no longer fit your home’s cleaner, fresher look. Install new bulbs with the appropriate lighting for specific areas of your home. For example, ambient, low-key lighting fills a room, whereas directional or task lighting works better in areas like a reading nook. Use accent lighting to highlight focal points in a room, such as the artwork above a mantle, to draw buyers’ attention to certain selling points.

7. Frame windows. Ensure you have the right window treatments, which enhance natural brightness and boost the appearance of a home. Window treatments also can impact a room’s temperature because they reduce or increase the amount of light entering the space. Adjust window treatments appropriately when showing your home in the mornings, afternoon and evenings.

8. Set the table. Fresh, decorative flowers in the kitchen or on the dining room table are always a nice touch. Also, keep place settings handy for your tables so you can quickly set them out right before showings or an open house. Pull out all the formal stops for a dining room, and keep the table casual in the kitchen.

9. Hide unsightly everyday items. Don’t leave children’s toys and pet belongings out in the open during showings and open houses. Move litter boxes, pet dishes, toys, animal crates and kids’ entertainment to less conspicuous areas of the home, such as an outdoor storage unit or garage before each showing or open house. Also think about where you can store things like dirty laundry and dirty kitchen sponges.

10. Don’t forget the back. Keep your backyard looking spacious and functional. Plant or pot colorful flowers and keep the landscaping trimmed and neat. Consistently pick up after your pets so buyers feel comfortable touring the yard.

Here are 10 things to consider

Be aware that some properties just aren’t worth the price. Here’s what to watch out for

Buyers looking for a fixer-upper? Here are 10 things to consider

I’ve done these projects many, many times. I’m receiving feed back that many buyers prefer the ease and convenience of a fully turnkey property, but occasionally you may get a buyer who is looking for a bargain and is willing to put in some sweat equity to make it work. While this can be a great idea for a skilled Do it your self, some properties are just too far gone for a casual home makeover. 

Here are 10 things that you should tread carefully when shopping for a

Key Take away’s Kitchen and bathroom (37 percent), other interior remodels (23 percent) and additions (21 percent) were the most popular renovations homeowners took on this year.

Fifty-two percent of first-time applicants knew they needed a permit, while five percent of first-time applicants had never heard of a permit.

The average permit costs $500 or less and takes two to four weeks to obtain.

1. As-is listing

While an AS IS listing, isn’t in and of itself, a no-go, it does indicate that the seller may be aware of some necessary repairs and or updates and is unwilling or unable to complete them. EXTREMELY CRUCIAL! Ensure that you do a thorough to try to identify the elements in need of repair and determine whether your buyer is able and willing to take them on.

In the case of bank-owned properties, you may find that the home is listed as-is because the bank is not in a position to speak to its condition. Again, as-is doesn’t have to be a deal breaker, but should definitely prompt thorough investigation. Be on guard, some of these deals are corporate owned, and already purchased from the bank and just want to dump them.

2. Bad roof

Since a bad roof isn’t usually a DIY type of project, a roof repair should be cause for concern. Even if your buyer is willing to have the shingles replaced, a roof in poor condition can be the cause of major leaks that could affect the structural underpinnings, interior ceilings and other areas of the home. Moisture intrusion can result in dangerous mold, and costing thousands more to remediate.

3. Wall cracks

Not all wall cracks automatically indicate a foundation problem — but some do. Generally, the wider the cracks, the more problematic, while cracks in concrete walls are often serious indicators of structural deficiencies. In addition, long cracks along the margins between interior walls and upstairs ceilings can indicate roof truss issues, which can be quite serious — and costly.

4. Deferred maintenance

If the house has been unoccupied for a long time — either because of a foreclosure or because the previous owners were unable to sell in a timely manner — there will generally be a certain amount of deferred maintenance. Over time, this can add up and create significant repair issues.  Make certain you can complete this project in a 12 month window.

In addition, if a house has not been properly heated or cooled because it was standing empty, the new owner may face some unexpected repair issues once they are occupying it.

5. Window unit air-conditioning

Wow, this is a serious, problematic challenge. If a house does not have central air, your buyer may believe that they can add it for the cost of a new HVAC unit. However, the pitch of the roof may inhibit installation, they’ll also need to factor in the cost of duct work, registers and other system elements that will be required for the installation. Make sure that they get some estimates from well-qualified HVAC installers during the home inspection process.

6. Moisture and mildew smell

Even if you don’t see water damage, a strong smell of mustiness and mildew is an indicator that there is hidden water seeping in from outside or leaking from the current plumbing system. This can indicate a small intrusion — like a leaky window frame, for instance — or a major moisture problem like a prone-to-flooding basement. 7. Bad floor plan

It’s one thing to switch out light fixtures or change the tile in the foyer. A bad floor plan, however, is something that most weekend warriors can’t tackle on their own. If your buyer hates the flow of a home but thinks that a new paint color or some updated fixtures will make things better, please think again. An experienced Realtor may be your savior, we’re not all bad guys.

8. Outdated plumbing or wiring

Your buyers may think that updating the plumbing in a home stops with a new kitchen faucet and that updating the electrical means a new light fixture. However, an outdated plumbing or electrical system is a big job requiring the skill and training of an experienced plumber or electrician. 

Talk to your home inspector about the materials the pipes are made of and the condition of the electrical system. Sub-par materials or amateur installation should generally serve as deal-breakers for your buyers.

9. Ugly bathrooms or kitchen

It’s easy to fall in love with a house “except for” an out-of-date kitchen or an ugly bathroom. However, these are among the most expensive remodeling projects, even for skillful DIYers. 

Living without a kitchen for what could be weeks or months on end, or without one or more of the home’s bathrooms, can create major inconveniences that make the new home experience awkward and even unbearable. Believe me, this has happened to me more than once!

10. Bad grading

A poorly graded property can result in extensive water intrusion and make it difficult to keep the basement dry. In addition, amateur fixes can make the problem worse, introducing termites and other pests into the home’s siding or foundation. These signs can easily be hidden with a power washer and then you end up with compromised walls, ceilings, rafters etc.

If you see standing water or excessive dampness in the landscaping close to the home, discuss the need for interventions with your home inspector or a trusted landscaper and determine whether bad grading can be corrected simply or will require the installation of drains and other diversions.

Dan was a member of Lions Club International. Why is this important you say? From 1975 through 2010 Dan and his family have sponsored foreign exchanges students through the Montgomery Youth Camp program, and through high school international Soccer work shops. His family has been host to as many as 9 boys or up to 4 girls at a time during their stay in Florida and has stayed in touch with these young men, women, and families in 34 countries.

Dan’s sphere of influence is international! Selling investment properties, to second homes. Buyers will contact him, ask to pin point a clutch of seasonal rental properties, engage in Purchase Agreements, and once the inspections are ordered, these investors will fly over the Pond and attend the inspections! They may purchase the entire clutch of homes are just a select few. His trusted judgment goes a long way with the relationships he has developed over the years.

My proven 7 step process will reveal the appropriate price entry point so you don’t leave any money on the table.

Pricing is not a game.

My proven 7 Step pricing strategy will reveal the most appropriate price entry point so you don’t leave any money on the table. My research tools are unlike any other in the market and my pricing strategy is one of my strongest skills and one of the most important in assisting my clients. I lead, guide, and protect all my clients.

The RE/MAX Network is powerful.  Your home will be showcased on 7 different RE/MAX portals including Global reach.  The RE/MAX network is over 124,000 members strong and you may be surprised where a buyer can come from!  www.remax.com last year alone generated over 77 million visits from buyers all over the world.  Our website is the most traveled franchise site in the Country.

Dan will notify he’s entire Sphere of Influence as to the availability of your property.  The more people that know about your home the greater chance we have of securing a quick sale.  My client database is always eager to share my available inventory as they understand the buyer may be one of their own friends!

Here are the top 5 single-family residential real estate sales in Northeast Florida, comprising Duval, St John’s and Nassau counties. The sales were recorded in the Multiple Listing Service from January 13 thru the 17th.

4486 Hunterston Ln., Duval County Jacksonville FL 32224

Single-family Residential

Sq. Ft. Heated Approx 6,500

Built in 2016, Just Market Value $1,098,600

This is a Two-story 5 Bedroom 6 Bath Open outdoor pool and kitchen for entertaining, and a two-car garage.

$2,000,000

1805 Ocean Dr S. Duval County Jacksonville Beach, Fl 32250

Single-Family Residential

Sq. Ft. Heated Approx 2,500

Built in 2011, Just Market Value $1,216,000

This is a 3 Bedroom 2 Bath Furnished Beach Front, Ocean view and two-car garage.

$1,700,000

128 Rosco Blvd. St John’s County Ponte Vedra FL 32082

Single-family Residential

Sq. Ft. Heated 4,260

Built in 2013, Just Market Value $1,182,600

$1,670,000

95361 Spinnaker Dr. Fernandina Beach, FL 32034

Single-family Townhouse

Sq. Ft. Heated Approx 3,713

Built in 2011, Just Market Value $955,988

This is a Two-story 4 Bedroom 3.5 Bath 12 feet Ceilings, Ocean, Golf and Marsh Views, pool and a two-car garage.

$1,250,000

917 N. First St., No. 501, Jacksonville Beach, Duval County

Type: Acquilus Condominium

Condominium size: 2,269 square feet

Buyer: Kimberly C. and Bruce Tusher

Seller: Blair B. and Gerald R. May

Previous sale: $985,000 in 2017

$1,200,000

A 1031 Like Kind Exchange transaction requires planning, expertise and support. Here’s a checklist outlining key steps in your exchange.

How to do a 1031 Exchange

  1. Choose your 1031 Qualified Intermediary (QI)
  2. Consult with your tax professionals
  3. Include Cooperation Clause language in your purchase and sale agreement
  4. QI prepares your exchange documents
  5. Start searching for Replacement Property
  6. Sign all documents QI prepares
  7. Sell your Relinquished Property
  8. Identify your Replacement Property
  9. Enter into contract on Replacement Property
  10. Contact QI once Replacement Property escrow is opened
  11. Close on Replacement Property
  12. QI transfers funds to complete your purchase
  13. Your exchange is complete

How to do a 1031 Exchange – Key Steps


  1. Choose your 1031 Qualified Intermediary – IPX1031, as your Qualified Intermediary (QI), will prepare the documentation for the 1031 Exchange, and most importantly, safeguard your exchange funds.
  2. Consult with your tax professionals – IPX1031 is an excellent resource and will provide a great deal of information about like kind exchanges, however we cannot provide legal or tax advice. Engage your legal, tax, and/or financial advisors to review your specific circumstances. Although this is not mandatory for your 1031 Exchange, IPX1031 recommends that investors should always seek advice from their advisors.
  3. Include Cooperation Clause language in your purchase and sale agreement – Instruct your real estate agent or attorney to include a “1031 Exchange Cooperation Clause” in the contract / purchase and sale agreement.
  4. Qualified Intermediary prepares your exchange documents – After the contract is signed, contact your IPX1031 sales executive directly, call toll free at 888-771-1031, or go to http://www.ipx1031.com and click on Start an Exchange Today, BEFORE your transaction closes. IPX1031 will prepare 1031 documents that need to be signed prior to closing.
  5. Start searching for Replacement Property – Remember that once you close on your old Relinquished Property, the clock starts ticking and you only have 45 days to identify your new Replacement Property. 45 days comes very quickly, so start looking at your options now.
  6. Sign all documents QI prepares – Sign all documents IPX1031 prepares PRIOR to the transfer of your Relinquished Property and determine sale proceeds to be placed into your Exchange.
  7. Sell your Relinquished Property – complete the transfer of your Relinquished Property.
  8. Identify your Replacement Property – By midnight of your 45 day deadline, complete the Identification form and deliver it via fax, email, mail to IPX1031.
  9. Enter into contract on Replacement Property adding the Cooperation Clause language.
  10. Contact QI once Replacement Property escrow is opened. IPX1031 will prepare all necessary documents for you to sign and to review with your tax/legal advisors.
  11. Close on Replacement Property
  12. QI transfers funds to complete your purchase – once your transaction closes, IPX1031 will transfer your exchange funds.
  13. Your exchange is complete. Report your 1031 Exchange on IRS Form 8824 for the tax year your 1031 Exchange began.

1031 Exchange and Defer? Or Sell and Pay Taxes?

Commercial and Investment property sales remain robust and a growing number of sellers are structuring their sales as 1031 Exchanges.  Rather than pay taxes that may be as much as 40% of the gain, by simply structuring their sales as 1031 Exchanges and purchasing new replacement properties, all of the following taxes can be deferred:

  • Capital Gains – Your rate will vary based on your taxable income (15 to 20%). For 2019, your rate may be 20% if taxable income exceeds $434,551 (single) or $488,851 (married filing jointly).
  • Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT) – If you have income from investments, including capital gains, you may be subject to a 3.8% net investment income tax on your adjusted gross income in excess of $200,000 ($250,000 if married filing jointly). Read more to see if this applies to you.
  • State tax –You may be subject to state or local income taxes. State tax rates vary from 0% to the highest rate in California at 13.3%. See 2019 rates here.
  • Depreciation Recapture – A flat Federal tax rate of 25% is applied for unrecognized gain due to depreciation.

For additional information, visit IPX1031.com BLOG for more qualified questions and answers.

Don’t always rely on blueprints, or builders specs.

Many developers are required to record what model and elevation new construction will require on any specific lot. It’s not complicated to understand, water management districts, engineers and planners have criteria that must be followed and altering these specifications can be tricky. Often a buyer wants this lot and this floor plan and specific elevation. In order to accommodate the buyer, elevations and floor plans are juggled, some criteria is altered, ultimately it falls through the cracks and fails to be noted in the county tax records.

Gather as much detail about plans and specs as you can and perhaps have a realtor to help protect your interests.

Home builders keep and maintain both building plans and specifications that include any construction materials they plan to use. The most diligent ones will update those plans and specs as things change. Make sure you get your hands on the “plot plan,” home-building plan, spec sheets, and cost breakdown list. Beware change orders are not always documented.

When calculating the gross living area from the plans, you will need to examine the specifications which list the materials being used, including doors, windows, cabinets, plumbing fixtures, and electrical fixtures. AGAIN BEWARE! The design center and materials you use can price your home’s value much higher than the current market value at times. The specifications will also describe the size and finishes used in the construction. Know the quality of materials and construction and how the proposed improvements compare with other sales in the market. “This information is critical so that you can compile your list of comparables.” Once you have the dimensions, materials, and so on, you can use a cost service to estimate the cost of the new construction.

Talk to multiple project managers for each home in the area.

This can be tedious, and getting these managers to share their knowledge can gain valuable information about each home built. As long as you talk to them now to evaluate current costs and value. Don’t rely on data you received from builders years ago or even months ago. The market is always changing. Also, speak to more than one builder in your area to gain an objective viewpoint. And remember, other builders may be rivals of the builder constructing your subject property, so they may not be entirely objective. Make sure you include plenty of notes in your work file about who you spoke to, when, and what the person had to say.

Be careful as you choose comparable sales

First and foremost, you paid cash without requiring an independent appraisal. Now you may be in a challenge when selling, many lenders have requirements for selecting comparable sales, so follow their lead without becoming too objective. For example, many tend to require that at least one sale in the subdivision be by another builder. This is not always possible. this is where a project manage can be helpful. Lenders don’t like to see all the comps by the same builder “because the builder could be inflating the value of property.!”

Additionally, to demonstrate the marketability of the area, some lenders require you to provide a comparable sale at least within a mile of the subject property.

The REAL CHALLENGE AT TIMES, custom-built homes recently built in the neighborhood cannot be considered as comparables unless they have been exposed to the market and to a typical buyer—and not just to the person who requested the custom features and design in the first place.

Those requirements can make it hard to find other new construction comparables. If recent sales within the immediate neighborhood in the past 6 months are a challenge, you may expand your search to other neighborhoods or go back further in time—even if doing so is outside the lender’s guidelines it may be acceptable. Do so only if those comps are necessary for you to create a credible estimate of value. “Make sure you provide plenty of notes justifying why you chose the comps you chose and how you adjusted value based on them!”

Use the sales comparison approach (if possible)

The sales comparison approach, when you estimate the home’s value based on sale prices of comparable homes, tends to be the best approach. However, comparables can be hard to come by for similar new builds. If the sales comparison approach is not applicable or credible, state that in your report and use one of the other methods, for example:

  • Allocation method: Here, you use several sales in the subject subdivision and take the cost of construction from the total sales price to arrive at a site value. Use several sales, get an overall ratio of land to improvement value, and then apply that ratio to the subject property.
  • Extraction method: Similar to the allocation method, but instead of applying the ratio, you use the derived site values as land comparables.

Know your FHA, HUD, VA, USAA and USPAP Requirements

The requirements vary, and they can change, so follow your lender’s instructions to a tee. Some big ones to know (at least until they change):

  • FHA requires that you gather information and execute tasks weeks ahead of the appraisal order.
  • FHA requires a final inspection. The final inspection can take place if the improvements are within 90% of completion and must be done by an appraiser.
  • Appraisers must complete Form 90251 for FHA loans.
  • Fannie Mae allows appraisers to use plans or a model home that is similar to the proposed construction, to come up with a preliminary value.
  • USAA and USPAP allows appraisers to use documentation other than plans and specifications as long as there is enough detail to create a credible report. For a current value, you would use a hypothetical condition. For a prospective value, you would use an extraordinary assumption. USPAP requires appraisers to keep true copies of all the information used to complete the appraisal report, including blueprints and specifications, in the workfile.

I am not a licensed appraiser and do not practice as such. My knowledge is based on experience, networking with a great deal of lenders and appraisers, understanding their challenges through the mid to late 2000 error! Experiencing the horror stories and experiencing the new Federal and State guidelines demanded of appraisers, my commercial experience and Continued Education help me to understand and hopefully able to share some of the challenges you may face in your resale or new construction experience.

Many sellers and buyers have asked me what’s the most active time of year to buy and or sell their home. I pulled very accurate data for the past three (3) years in Del Webb Ponte Vedra in Nocatee, not to be mistaken by Del Webb Nocatee. Go to my FB page, https://www.facebook.com/DDSwing or https://www.facebook.com/realestateindelwebb/ You can interact with the charts to drill down per month if you wish.

In 2018 sales were very active in January and February and began to decline to a low of 6 resales in July. January 2019 were lower than 2018, however no real decline in resale activity occurred as it did in the previous year.

The last half of 2019 was the biggest jump in resales and by December had 27 closed/sold resale homes. It’s expected to increase in late spring of this year

We are collecting additional data to hopefully provide a clearer view of what to expect in resales as we move into 2020.