Author Archives: Elise Francesca Fargnoli

Turner Title Prospector

Turner Title Prospector

The Turner Title Prospector is a tool you need to be using! Not only does it offer leads on potential sellers in your target neighborhoods, it also provides analytics that will help you refine your marketing materials and message.

Still need more convincing? Here’s what else this amazing prospecting tool can do for you.

  1. Provide data about the turnover rate in a certain neighborhood.
  2. Tell you whether homes in a given neighborhood are primarily owner-occupied or investment properties.
  3. Help you determine which neighborhoods would be most lucrative to begin farming in.
  4. Maximize your marketing dollars by targeting your message to specific home owners and potential sellers.

Collecting the data is only step one of marketing your real estate business. Once you’ve determined who you’ll be marketing to, the next step is to develop and share your message. While we love automating our marketing process as much as you probably do, we strongly recommend checking carefully to make sure every communication you send is well targeted to your new-found audience.

Our own Lisa Gudath is an expert Turner Title Prospector trainer, and offers free training sessions to help you become a prospecting pro. For more information about joining one of her sessions, call the Turner Title office at (727) 914-4590 or email us at this link. We can’t wait to meet you at one of our upcoming free trainings!

Closing Costs

Who Pays the Closing Costs?

So you’ve found the perfect new house, and are ready to make an offer… Great! Naturally, you want to make your offer as attractive as possible. But as you comb through your budget, it occurs to you… Who pays the closing costs? 

It’s at this time that you begin to frantically research a topic that you now wish you had looked at beforehand: Closing costs. What are they, and who pays them? 

Closing costs are the fees paid upfront at closing by both the buyer and the seller. They cover expenses such as the title search, property taxes, real estate fees, inspections, title insurance, and closing fees. In Florida, these expenses are shared by buyers and sellers. Buyers frequently pay the fees associated with home inspections and obtaining a mortgage. Sellers usually pay the agents’ commissions and taxes. In most cases, buyers can expect to pay roughly 2.5% to 3.5% of the total sale price in upfront closing costs.

Buyer closing costs cover items such as:

  • Survey Fees
  • Appraisal Fees
  • Inspections
  • Recording Fees
  • Loan Origination Fees
  • Credit Report
  • HOA Fees

Seller closing costs pay for:

  • Agent Commission
  • Taxes
  • Promissory Note
  • Title Search

Closing costs are due upfront, meaning they usually can’t be rolled into the mortgage. Although there are scenarios where the lender might pay for some of the closing costs in exchange for a higher interest rate, this is rarely in the buyer’s favor. Because of this, it’s important to plan ahead and be ready to pay closing costs in addition to your down payment.

With that said, if adding closing costs to the bottom line of your “cash due at closing” puts you just out of reach of your dream home, could you ask the seller to pay more of the closing costs in your offer? Sure – go ahead! You can always ask. …Or you could ask for that same $5,000 to be taken off of the sale price, and enjoy lower payments over the lifetime of the loan. Depending upon what you can swing upfront, the latter might be the wisest choice.

Regardless of whether you approach closing from the buyer’s perspective or the seller’s, a bit of pre-planning will help to make the reality of closing costs less of a strain. If you have questions about the closing process, feel free to contact the team at Turner Title! We’re here to help, and can’t wait to guide you through the process of purchasing (or selling) your home.  

Why Do We Need Flood Insurance?

Depending upon your mortgage scenario, you may be required to obtain flood insurance in addition to your homeowner’s insurance policy. But even if a flood insurance policy isn’t required for your property, it may be a good idea to consider one anyway. Here’s why!

Homeowner’s insurance rarely covers flood damage. 

While your homeowner’s insurance will usually cover water damage from burst pipes or a broken window during a rainstorm, flood damage is a different story. Especially if your home is in a flood zone, you’ll want to read up on your policy’s fine print. Flood insurance is unique in that it covers damage from heavy rains or from a sudden overflow of a nearby river or lake. 

Flooding happens even outside of flood zones.

If it can rain, it can flood. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, more than 20% of flood-related claims come from what might be considered a low to moderate-risk flood area.

It doses’t take much.

It only takes 18 inches of water to cause potential damage to high-cost items such as electrical and heating/cooling systems. Even one inch of water can do in your carpet, vinyl flooring, and baseboards. Water damage is no joke. On its heals comes wood rot, mold, and even insect damage.

While the added policy is sometimes optional, it’s still worth considering to ensure that flood damage doesn’t turn into a major setback for you and your family.

Turner Title is sharing lots of title and mortgage tips here at the Turner Title Blog! And don’t forget to visit us on Youtube and subscribe to our channel!

Meet the Team at Turner Title

Turner Title is the best company of closers in Florida. But don’t take our word for it – meet the team! Let us introduce you to each of our stupendous, professional, competent, courteous, fun-loving staff members.

Lisa Gudath – President

Lisa is a Florida native raised in Brandon and Tampa. She attended Eckerd College in St. Petersburg. Lisa began her Real Estate career in Phoenix. She then launched her 20+ year career as an Information Technology Professional. She went on to administer networks in the Hospitality Industry and Educational sector. In 2005 she earned her master’s degree in education.

In 2014, she circled back to both real estate and Florida, where she now calls Treasure Island home. Lisa became a Licensed Title Agent with Turner Title in 2022. Her experience from all sides of the closing table allows her to create a title experience with happy clients and seamless transactions.

Arieal Calhoun – Customer Service Specialist

Arieal Calhoun is a Tampa Bay Native with extensive knowledge of the Tampa Bay real estate market.  Her career in real estate and title is aligned with her core values of providing exemplary customer service. She is committed to ensuring each client is provided with a smooth and complete transaction and is happy to be a part of the team with Turner Title. When not working with clients, Ariel works to advocate for children and families within her community.

Miranda Zaldivar – Escrow Officer/Closer

Miranda is a second-generation Cuban and Puerto Rican American who has made the Tampa Bay area her home for the past 6 years. She is originally from Miami and fell in love with Tampa Bay after attending the University of South Florida. Her fluency in both Spanish and English helps ensure all of our clients are receiving adequate and passionate care in their native language. She is devoted to making the process of buying or selling a home as easy and stress-free as possible.

Fareedah Pretto – Post Closer

Fareedah is an experienced Title Processor/Closer that has been working on a national title level for over 15 years. As a Pinellas County native, it is her passion to serve her community. Specializing in purchases, refinances, foreclosure deeds, and new construction homes, as a processor. She is committed to meeting the needs of each client for her community to thrive. Fareedah’s career has catapulted as her passion for title work has motived her to learn every facet of the business. Currently, she holds a position as Post-Closer with Turner Title. Her outgoing and enthusiastic personality captivates not only her family but her clients also. Fareedah’s commitment to excellence and service ensures that each client is cared for, just as she would her own family – with the utmost care!

Randi Golemme – Account Executive

Randi Golemme has been in the real estate industry for over 20 years. She was born on Long Island, New York, and moved to South Florida in 1990 and now calls SE Polk County her home since 2007. Randi is a licensed Florida Realtor and a Certified Salesperson with the National Association of Home Builders. She specialized in new home sales and new construction along with a background in title. She has now joined the Turner Title team as an Account Executive.

Massiel Seijas – Escrow Officer/Closer

Massiel has been serving Tampa’s top real estate agents, lenders, and mortgage brokers since 2012. Born in Cuba and raised in Venezuela, she is fluent in both English and Spanish, and can skillfully close real estate transactions in either language. Massiel is passionate about the Tampa Bay community and regularly participates in local events.

Christy Sexton – Escrow Officer/Closer

Meet one of the newest members of the Dalton Wade team! Christy brings outstanding professionalism and responsiveness to the table, and is an expert in her field!

Now that you’ve had the opportunity to meet the team at Turner Title, check out our website for more information about us, or schedule a call to learn more about the resources we can offer you. Looking for Florida real estate? Check out listings on Dalton Wade Real Estate’s website.

What is a Short Sale (And Is it Right for You as a Buyer?)

A short sale occurs when a property sells for less than what is still due on the homeowner’s mortgage. Thus, the seller will come up “short” when paying off his or her lender. Buyers may think they’ve nabbed a bargain. But the wary home buyer will consider all of the factors involved in a short sale, including those that are less often discussed.

Approval From the Seller’s Lender

Because the short sale is likely occurring due to financial distress that makes it difficult for the seller to pay off his mortgage, the seller’s lender will need a say in the process. If you’re wondering why a lender would ever agree to a short sale, it does happen… on occasion. If the loss from a short sale would be less than the loss resulting from initiating a foreclosure, then the lender might agree. However, be ready for a long and arduous approval process. While a traditional home purchase process will usually take a month or so from offer to closing, some short sales take up to a year to finalize!

Fixer-Upper Central

If you’re handy, a fixer-upper might be just the opportunity you want! But for those of us with two left hands, a short sale may prove to be more expensive than we’d originally thought. Because of the nature of short sales, the sellers won’t likely be coming from a place of wanting to sink their own capital into repairs and maintenance. Be ready for some added repair costs after closing. 

All That Work for Nothing

It is entirely possible that at the end of an extremely long process, the sale might fall through. Or you might receive a counter offer at a much higher price than you can afford. Nothing is more frustrating than waiting months for a response to your offer letter, only to finally be told “no”. If you’re a frequent real estate investor, a little bit of lost time may not be a big issue for you. But if you’re shopping for a home for your family to live in, don’t forget to factor the potential cost of futile efforts into the equation. 

Is a short sale right for you? It all depends! As with all real estate deals, go into it with your eyes open, and with a good realtor at your side. 

Who Pays the Closing Costs?

So you’ve found the perfect new house, and are ready to make an offer… Great! Naturally, you want to make your offer as attractive as possible. But as you comb through your budget, it occurs to you…

Who pays the closing costs? 

It’s at this time that you begin to frantically research a topic that you now wish you had looked at beforehand: Closing costs. What are they, and who pays them? 

Closing costs are the fees paid upfront at closing by both the buyer and the seller. They cover expenses such as the title search, property taxes, real estate fees, inspections, title insurance, and closing fees. In Florida, these expenses are frequently shared by buyers and sellers. Buyers frequently pay the fees associated with home inspections and obtaining a mortgage. Sellers usually pay the agents’ commission and taxes. In most cases, buyers can expect to pay roughly 2.5% to 3.5% of the total sale price in upfront closing costs.

Buyers usually cover items such as:

  • Survey Fees
  • Appraisal Fees
  • Inspections
  • Recording Fees
  • Loan Origination Fees
  • Credit Report
  • HOA Fees

Sellers often pay for:

  • Agent Commission
  • Taxes
  • Promissory Note
  • Title Search

Closing costs are due upfront, meaning they usually can’t be rolled into the mortgage. Although there are scenarios where the lender might pay for some of the closing costs in exchange for a higher interest rate, this is rarely in the buyer’s favor. Because of this, it’s important to plan ahead and be ready to pay all of your upfront fees in addition to your down payment.

With that said, if adding closing costs to the bottom line of your “cash due at closing” puts you just out of reach of your dream home, could you ask the seller to pay more of the closing costs in your offer? Sure – go ahead! You can always ask. …Or you could ask for that same $5,000 to be taken off of the sale price, and enjoy lower payments over the lifetime of the loan. Depending upon what you can swing upfront, the latter might be the wisest choice.

Regardless of whether you approach closing from the buyer’s perspective or the seller’s, a bit of pre-planning will help to make the reality of closing costs less of a strain. If you have questions about the closing process, feel free to contact the team at Turner Title! We’re here to help, and can’t wait to guide you through the process of purchasing (or selling) your home. 

Neighborhood

What is Farming in Real Estate?

Sure, you’ve heard of farming… It’s that thing that mostly happens in the midwest, and you are vaguely aware that it’s the reason for the potatoes that were on your plate last night. But why in the world would a Florida realtor need to start “cultivating a farm”? 

First off, farming in real estate means something different – though not entirely unrelated. Just like agricultural farming does, real estate farming requires proper planning, nurturing, and time. And the produce? …Clients. The end goal of farming in real estate is to grow your business by cultivating a specific region of your market, whether that be a geographic region, or a demographic region. 

There are a number of considerations that an up-and-coming realtor will want to think about when choosing a new town or neighborhood to farm. Here are just a few that can help your business take off!

Marketing First

Before sending out that first mailer, give careful thought to your branding. Does your content present you in a positive, professional light? Are the fonts and colors you’ve chosen both functional and aesthetic? Remember… real estate is a largely aesthetic market. If your branding material looks sloppy, how will clients trust you with the presentation of their homes? 

Geography

If you’re planning to present yourself as the local expert in a specific region’s real estate market, it’s wise to make sure that you are able to dive in to all that the area has to offer. You can avoid embarrassing conversations that show you really don’t know the street names, or have never actually been to that lunch spot that all the locals rave about by choosing to farm areas that are near your physical location and convenient for you to get to at a moment’s notice. Besides, if a buyer calls about seeing a house in your target neighborhood, you wouldn’t want to drive an hour to get there anyway! 

Demographic

Farming in real estate can be about more than just geography. If you are familiar with the lifestyle needs of a specific type of buyer or seller (such as first-time homebuyers, military, down-sizers, etc.), you can easily make yourself the local expert for clients who fit your target demographic. 

Tools

This is where Turner Title comes in. We at Turner Title offer an outstanding tool called the Turner Title Prospector. The Prospector is designed to help you find motivated sellers in specific cities or neighborhoods with powerful geo-targeting precision. Training on how to use the Turner Title Prospector is offered on a regular basis. Email us with questions, or join the Dalton Wade Real Estate team for access to even more outstanding tools that will make you a better real estate agent!

Real Estate Market

Keeping an Eye on the 2023 Housing Market Correction

Whether you are a buyer or a seller, you’re probably keeping a close eye on the recent housing marketing correction. We all want to know the answer to this all-important question: What is the Florida real estate market going to do next? We at Turner Title have done a bit of research, and have some good news for both buyers and sellers.  

Good news for buyers:

While real estate prices have been steadily rising over the past two years, prices stabilized between November of 2022 and February of 2023. The good news is that buyers who once felt pressure to snap up a house before home prices skyrocketed further, can finally slow down. 

A year ago, buyers reasoned a home that is affordable today might well be out of reach tomorrow. But as of February of 2023, we can all take a deep breath and continue our home shopping at a more relaxed tempo. With that said, the real estate market (like every other industry) is subject to the law of supply and demand.  Even though home prices are leveling off, Florida is still the fastest-growing state in the country… so if you’ve fallen in love with a specific home, it’s safer not to wait! Other buyers might have their eyes on the same property, and you don’t want to miss out on your opportunity to make an offer!

…Now we know what you’re thinking. Wait a minute. You said you had good news for both buyers and sellers. With data like this, what could possibly be good news for sellers? 

Don’t worry sellers, we’ve got you! 

Good news for sellers: 

We’ve all heard the rumors and anxiety-inducing projections of a real estate market downturn, but the data is showing the opposite. In just one year (between July 2021 and July 2022), Florida’s population increased by more than 400,000 people. The Sunshine State’s population is still growing, leading to an increase in housing demands. And even though the data shows that the growth in property values has slowed, it certainly hasn’t stalled!

Florida still has one of the fastest-moving real estate markets in the nation. The health of the real estate market is directly linked to the health of the local economy, and the numbers don’t lie. In December of 2022, Florida’s unemployment rate of 2.5% was a full percent lower than the national 3.5% unemployment rate. Not only that, but the number of available jobs in the Sunshine State also rose by 3% in 2022. Florida’s tourism industry is second to none – making investment real estate a hot commodity as well. 

The good news for sellers is that, while the market may have slowed down a bit, it’s still marching steadily forward. 

In light of everything above, keep in mind that it’s impossible to predict with certainty what the future holds for the real estate market. All we can do is use our best judgment with the knowledge and resources that we have available. (And speaking of resources, keep following us for more insight into the real estate market, as well as tips and tricks for making your closing process easy and effective!)

Virtual Closing

Online Closing is Here to Stay

Online closing makes real estate sales and purchases simple! Imagine this scenario… your real estate client has just accepted a new job in a new town. It’s time for her to pack everything up and put the house on the market!

Even if your seller accepts an offer the very first day that her home is listed, there likely will be at least a three week waiting period before closing. By then, she might have already moved. And now you have to ask her to travel all the way back just to sign the closing documents?

Luckily, the days of relying on snail mail and over-priced airline tickets to close long-distance business deals are behind us. The real estate boom of 2021 coincided with the COVID-19 epidemic at just the right time to fan into flame the growing popularity of online real estate closings. But what does this mean for realtors? 

First, if you haven’t recently brushed up on your Zoom skills, now is the time. In most cases, there will be some sort of online conferencing component to the closing process. Buyers and sellers won’t necessarily be up to speed on their remote technical skills, so be ready to provide some light “IT” help as needed.

Second, make sure that you’re working with a closing company that can handle the online closing process. One of the great things that sets Turner Title apart from other title services is our ability to transition easily between in-person and online closings, and even provide a mobile notary to both the buyer and seller!

Finally, as always, make sure to remind your clients not to respond to emails containing Wire Transfer Instructions. Wire fraud is a growing issue. Help your clients stay safe by personally providing them with the exact contact information of their closing team. A direct introduction is even better! Remember – just because the closing is happening remotely doesn’t mean that the process needs to be impersonal. Let your buyers know that they can reach out directly to a member of Turner Title’s team if they have any questions about the origin of any communication they’ve received.