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Types of Mortgages

Types of Mortgages for Home BuyersBuying a home is a big commitment. One of the first steps is to talk with your bank or mortgage broker to find out your different types of mortgage options.

Conventional Mortgage

A conventional mortgage is one that is not insured by the federal government. There are two types of conventional mortgage loans, conforming and non-conforming. A conforming loan falls within the maximum limits that are set by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. This type of loan is ideal for a buyer that has a strong credit score, stable income and job history, and at least a percentage of the down payment. 

Jumbo Mortgage

A jumbo mortgage loan is for the houses that home prices exceed the federal loan limits. These loans are common in areas where the home prices are higher than the average cost. Additional documentation is often required to qualify for a jumbo mortgage loan. Qualifiers often need to have at least have a 10-20% down payment, show significant assets, and a strong credit score.

Government-Insured Mortgage

While the government isn’t a mortgage lender, it does have three agencies that help back mortgages in the United States: the federal housing administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  

Loans from the Federal Housing Administration are for those who don’t have a large down payment and/or credit that could use improvement. 

Department of Agriculture loans help those in rural areas qualify for a mortgage loan with lower-income borrowers. 

Veterans Affairs loans are available to active and retired members of the US military and their families. VA loans don’t require a down payment and closing costs are generally capped. 

Fixed-Rate Mortgage

Fixed-rate mortgages offer terms of 15, 20, or 30 years, which means that your interest rate is set for the lifetime of the loan. Your monthly loan payment will stay the same each month. 

Adjustable-Rate Mortgage

An adjustable-rate mortgage fluctuates up and down based on the market conditions. An adjustable-rate mortgage could save you a lot in interest payments over the years. However, one disadvantage is that the monthly payments are not set and could change drastically from month to month. 

Ready to find your new home? Contact Kingfisher Real Estate today or check out our recommended searches.

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    How to Stage Your Home Like a Pro

    Staging Your Home to SellStaging is one of the most important steps to add value and versatility to your home. Steps like depersonalizing and decluttering help convince buyers that your house could become their new home, but there are some extra steps that can really make your home stand out. Remember, it’s all about the buyer, which means sweeping away the past to make way for the future. Keep reading for tips on how to most effectively stage your home.

    Hide the Mundane

    Your home should look like a place where people could imagine themselves living, but it shouldn’t look like someone is already living there. Eliminating clutter and hiding maintenance items, such as dish towels, extra cooking utensils, and laundry detergent is an important step to optimizing the appearance of rooms. Doing this makes the house feel like more of a blank canvas upon which the buyer can create their home, thus making them more likely to buy. 

    Prioritize Key Rooms

    When it comes to staging your home, remember that not all rooms are created equal. If you have limited time or budget, you’ll want to focus on the “money rooms” first. According to a 2017 report by the National Association of Realtors, the rooms that have the most influence on a buyer’s decisions are the kitchen, the living room, and the master bedroom. Giving these rooms some extra love can make all the difference in selling your home. Making a good first impression is also key, so make sure the front entrance of your home looks clean and inviting. Remove any seasonal or personal decorations in favor of some fresh-looking plants or a nice doormat. 

    Stick to Neutral Colors

    While bright colors are the perfect way to add a personal touch to your new home, they can often turn buyers off, especially if the color is on a wall, carpet, or something that would be hard to change. Although this can be time consuming and a little more cost intensive, painting over brightly colored walls with neutral tones (grey, white, beige) can make all the difference in making your home more versatile and appealing to buyers. While some buyers may appreciate a brightly colored wall, most would prefer to choose the color and placement of their statement piece to make the home feel more their own. 

    Appeal to All the Senses

    When staging your home, appearance is the priority, but smell and climate are also important factors. Before buyers enter your home, make sure it is a comfortable temperature and try to have good airflow. This could mean cracking a window and turning on some fans in the summer, or making sure every room is warm (but not too warm) in the winter. Although most people don’t think about it, giving your home a pleasant but subtle scent is also beneficial. You should always deep clean your home before showing it, but make sure there are no harsh chemical smells when the buyer comes. Adding flowers to a room can help, both with smell and appearance, or you could use fake flowers and a subtle air freshener for the same effect. 

    If you’re thinking about selling your home in Sanibel or Captiva, contact Kingfisher Real Estate to learn how we can help you.

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      5 Ways to Stay Cool During Your Summer Move

      Summer Moving Tips: Staying Cool The first official day of summer is almost here and summer is the most popular season for moving. If you’re planning to move into your new home this summer, here are some tips to help you stay cool. 

      Get an Early Morning Start

      The temperatures in the morning are much cooler than the temperatures in the afternoon. Try to wake up early and take advantage of these cooler temperatures. Plus, movers usually like to get an early start so they will appreciate it.

      Stay Hydrated

      Bring plenty of water with you and remember to drink it often. Drinking water helps reduce your chances of dehydration and heat exhaustion. Take breaks frequently and remember to quench your thirst with some fresh H2O.

      Use Sunscreen

      Don’t forget to slather on the sunscreen, whether it’s a spray or a lotion. It’s best to use a sunscreen that is SPF30 or higher and water resistant. Try to apply it about 15 minutes before going out in the sun and again every couple of hours.

      Keep Cold Towels Handy

      Pack a few cold wet towels with some ice in a cooler. Break them out when you or your movers start to feel hot. This is a great way to reduce your body temperature. Put the towel around your neck for a few minutes and use them to wipe the sweat from your face.

      Dress Cool

      Wearing loose fitting, light weight, and breathable clothing will help you stay cool. Light colored clothing works best because dark colors absorb the sun and heat, which will make you feel even hotter. You can also wear a hat to keep the sun off your head and face. 

      Be sure to contact Kingfisher Real Estate for all of your home buying and selling needs on Southwest Florida’s Captiva & Sanibel Islands.

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        How to Buy a Home Virtually

        Buying a Home VirtuallyWith all of the recent restrictions, you might be asking yourself: How am I going to do a walkthrough of a potential home? How will I meet with my agent? What does the home buying process look like? Amidst the pandemic, the real estate industry has had to adapt even more to the new normal. At Kingfisher Real Estate we understand that things may be different, but we are as committed as ever to helping you find your dream home. Below is a step by step guide on how you can purchase a home virtually. If you have any questions we’d be happy to help, contact us online or by phone. 

        Start Your Search Online

        Most home searches these days start with an online search. This is a good way to understand what properties are available in the area you want to live and how much homes are currently selling for. 

        Get started today by browsing our most popular searches or try our advanced search tool

        Get Mortgage Approval

        Once you’ve looked around and are ready to make the commitment to find a new home, it’s time to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Try our Mortgage Calculator tool to get an idea of how much you may be able to afford. Many banks have converted to a virtual method or you can find a mortgage website. It’s essential to get pre-approved so that you can be realistic about how much you can spend. Be sure to have at least your last two W2’s, two month’s worth of bank statements, and your most recent pay stubs. Once you’ve been preapproved, you will receive a preapproval letter, which becomes important as you move through the buying process.

        Choose Your Real Estate Agent

        An agent will become your biggest confidant during this time. They are the experts on the market, the neighborhoods, the available listings, school ratings, taxes, and more in an area. He or she can tour listings for you and send you photos or videos that online listings may have left out. Our team at Kingfisher Real Estate are the local experts for Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Find the right agent for you.

        Find Your Perfect Home

        Once you find your agent, connect with them to go over what you’re looking for in a home. Bring up some listings that you found in your research. They’re going to want to know details such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, acreage, and proximity to schools. Agents often have information on homes that haven’t yet hit websites and additional footage from virtual tours that may not have made it into the final cut. 

        Have an agent walk you through the house on FaceTime or another virtual service. Think about all the questions and places you would look in, in person, be sure to do the same thing virtually. Be sure to have them open cabinets, look out windows, and show you the street and other homes in the neighborhood so that you get the full impact of the home. You should be asking as many questions as possible if an in-person home tour isn’t available. 

        Write an Offer Letter

        After you’ve viewed all of the homes that fit your criteria and you’ve found one that you like, it’s time for your agent to write an offer letter. The seller has three options after the letter has been submitted: to accept, reject, or counter offer. Your agent will help you navigate through this process. 

        The Closing

        Once you and the seller have reached an agreement, it’s time for closing. You will need to get the home appraised, which is where the bank evaluates the home and ensures that they are not loaning you more than they think the home is worth. Once they’ve finished the appraisal, the mortgage company will finish underwriting your loan and verifying your financial information. 

        Next, you should schedule a home inspection to make sure everything about the home is as you think. This is especially important when buying a home online. An inspector will point out anything that is wrong with the home and needs repair. Anything that comes up in the inspection can either be repaired before closing or taken off the final price of the home. This needs to be negotiated with the seller before the closing.

        Once the closing is completed, you can move into your home!

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          How to Find Your Dream Home on Sanibel Island

          Home Buyers Finding a Home OnlineWith all of the uncertainty the world is going through today, you may think it’s not easy to find your dream home. Even though things are different right now, it doesn’t mean you can’t go ahead and find a home. Finding the right home takes time and Kingfisher Real Estate has plenty of helpful online resources. We are still here to help you through the home buying process, too.

          Start Your Search Online

          View the latest listings by browsing all of our recommended searches. Here are some of our most popular searches. 

          Kingfisher’s MLS tool allows you to create filters and customize your home search. The results will match your criteria so you can find available properties that are just right for you.

          Helpful Resources for Buyers & Sellers

          Use the links below to access our resources for home buyers and sellers.

          We are here for you and we are ready to help you! If you have any questions or need more information about buying or selling on Sanibel Island, contact Kingfisher Real Estate.

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            Spring Home Buying Tips for Sanibel Island

            Home Buying in Southwest FloridaSpring is a popular season for home buying. Typically, there are more homes on the market, so you’ll have more to choose from. There are also more home buyers searching for homes, so this gives you more competition. Here are a few tips to help you get started with the home buying process this spring.

            Get Pre-Approved

            If you have a pre-approval letter in hand, this will get you off to a great start. It will prove to sellers that you’re a serious buyer and you’ve already started the process with a bank or lender. Being pre-approved means you can act quickly when you find a home you’re interested in buying.

            Find an Agent

            Look for a trusted local agent who will give you the highest level of buyer representation. Choose an experienced agent who knows the local market. Your agent will be able to guide you through the process so you can make sound real estate decisions that are right for you and your specific goals.

            Determine How Much House You Can Really Afford

            If you’re already pre-approved for a mortgage, you'll know the loan amount you qualify for based on your income and credit information. You’ll also want to consider your other monthly expenses and the amount of savings for a down payment. Remember, you don’t have to max out your pre-approval amount when you buy a house.

            Make a List of Your Needs & Wants

            For many homebuyers, your budget doesn’t allow you to get every single thing you want in a home. This is why it’s a good idea to make a needs versus wants list. Focus on your must haves and also make a list of your preferred features. Read more about how to create a needs versus wants checklist

            Find the Right Home

            • Start your search. Use our advanced custom search tool. Listings on Kingfisher’s site are updated daily. Use our MLS tool to create a customized search for properties that meet your criteria.
            • Save your favorites. Create a free account and we’ll send you email notifications about new listings that match your criteria.
            • Check out our recommended search categories. You can view properties by location, type, and more.
            • See something you like? Use our free mortgage calculator to estimate your monthly payments.

            Our realtors live, work, and play in Sanibel & Captiva and we would love to help you find your new home. Contact Kingfisher Real Estate today to learn more about our services for home buyers.

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              3 Fun Ways to Spend Valentine's Day in Sanibel & Captiva Island

              This year, Valentine's Day falls on a Friday, offering the perfect, romantic way to start off your weekend. This holiday is the perfect day of the year to change up your everyday date night and do something a little bit different. Below, are three of our favorite things to do in the islands. 

              Sanibel Island Florida

               

               

               

               

               

              Cook a Sunset Dinner on the Beach:

              Both Captiva and Sanibel Islands feature beaches that have BBQ grills on them, creating the perfect backdrop to cook a sunset dinner with your partner. Bowman's Beach on Sanibel Island is known for being pristine and quiet. The beach has nature trails and places to launch canoes or kayaks for fun activities after dinner is completed. 
               

              Bike on the Beach in Florida

              Rent a Bike and Go For a Ride:

              Rent a bike and ride along Sanibel Island's 27-miles of bike paths. Stop along the way to explore beaches and discover wildlife preserves. Bike to the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum to learn from highly trained marine biologists about the importance of shells.
               

              Boating in Florida

              Book a Romantic Cruise:

              Port Sanibel Marina offers several options for fun-filled boat cruises and tours. While waiting for your cruise to start, take a walk on the mile-long Nature Boardwalk, or sit on one of the three seating areas to gave at the water. Be sure to make sure your reservation ahead of time, as they are required. 

               

              Kingfisher Real Estate helps home buyers and sellers on Sanibel Island. Contact us today for your Sanibel real estate needs, or if you want to hear more about the area. 

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                The Best Coffee Shops on Sanibel Island

                Sanibel Coffee ShopsThere are lots of great places to enjoy a steaming cup of coffee on Sanibel Island. It's a perfect way to kick start your day whether you’re going shopping, biking, shelling, or just relaxing on the beach. Here are some of our favorite picks. 

                The Coffee Bar by Bailey’s
                2477 Periwinkle Way

                This hot spot for coffee has been around for over 100 years and offers an extensive coffee bar menu. A great place to work, read, or relax in a comfortable and historic atmosphere. They also serve delicious blended drinks and smoothies.

                Sanibel Deli & Coffee Factory
                2330 Palm Ridge Road

                This casual cafe features indoor and outdoor seating along with homemade soups, salads, sandwiches, and award winning pizza. The coffee selection includes espresso, cappuccino, and lattes.

                Sanibel Bean
                2240 Periwinkle Way

                From coffee and tea to smoothies and pastries, this coffee house does not disappoint. Coffee is made with the finest ingredients, always served fresh and hot. Choices include regular, dark roast, decaf, and flavored coffees. 

                Joey’s Custard
                2467 Periwinkle Way

                Enjoy a full service coffee and espresso menu with lattes, Cuban coffees, cappuccinos, macchiatos, and more. Features indoor and outdoor seating, games, and puzzles. Family owned and operated.

                If you have any questions about Sanibel Island or local real estate opportunities, contact Kingfisher Real Estate. We’d love to hear from you.

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                  Best Dog Friendly Things to Do in Sanibel

                  Dog Friendly Beach Sanibel FloridaLooking for something fun to do with Fido? Here is a list of some of the best dog friendly places to go in Sanibel, Florida. You’ll also discover many more pet friendly parks, shops, restaurants, and activities in the area to enjoy with your best friend.

                  Gulfside Beach (Algiers Beach)
                  2001 Algiers Lane

                  This pet friendly beach is a great escape located near a nature preserve. It’s home to endangered shorebirds and sea turtles. The beach has picnic tables, wash stations, and restrooms. Dogs must be leashed at all times.

                  Bowman’s Beach
                  1700 Bowman’s Beach Road

                  This secluded beach features hiking trails and beautiful scenery. There are also picnic tables, grills, restrooms, and bike racks. Dogs are allowed on a leash.

                  Causeway Islands
                  19931 Sanibel Causeway Road

                  The Causeway Islands connect Sanibel Island to the mainland. This is a popular place for all beach activities including picnicking, windsurfing, canoeing, kayaking, kiteboarding, shelling, swimming, fishing, and sunbathing. Leashed pets are welcome.

                  J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge
                  1 Wildlife Drive

                  The refuge is part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the country and is world renowned for its remarkable migratory bird populations. Dogs on a leash are welcome on Wildlife Drive.

                  Island Paws
                  630 Tarpon Bay Road #5

                  Explore this fun pet store with your four legged friend and find natural foods, delicious treats, unique toys, and gifts. Reward your best friend for being such a good companion with a healthy snack or new toy.

                  Tarpon Bay Explorers
                  900 Tarpon Bay Road

                  This paddleboarding company rents out paddleboards to dog owners and their companions. Go off on a new adventure with your furry friend and bring a doggie life jacket if your pooch isn’t a good swimmer. Unfortunately, dogs aren’t allowed on eco tours.  

                  Kingfisher Real Estate helps home buyers and sellers on Sanibel Island. Contact us today for all your Sanibel real estate needs, or if you want to learn more about the area.

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                    2019 Holiday Moving Tips

                    Holiday Moving TipsThe 2019 holiday season is quickly approaching and moving during the holidays is no easy task. Here are some tips to help reduce your stress so you can still enjoy this special time of year. 

                    Decorate for the Holidays

                    Keep the holiday spirit going and wait to pack up holiday decorations until right before your move. You can pack a box full of decorations just before you leave. Label the box “holiday decorations” so you can easily find, unpack, and put everything back up once you get to your new home. If this isn’t feasible, try to keep at least one room decorated. Be sure to take a break from all of the chaos and go for a drive around town with your family to look at the beautiful holiday lights. You’ll be glad you did!

                    Prioritize, Pack, and Label

                    Go ahead and pack everything you don’t need or will not use from now until the time you get into your new home. Go room to room and pack all of the nonessentials. Label and neatly stack each box so they are out of the way and ready to go. Wrap any holiday gifts and put them in a separate box labeled “holiday gifts.” 

                    Make a Donation

                    The holiday season is the perfect time to give away any items you no longer want or need. Many charities will be happy to pick up your donations at no charge. This will leave you with fewer things to pack while helping others. 

                    Consider Timing & Budget

                    The holidays are a really busy time for movers, so book your move as far out as possible. Also, moving on a holiday weekend is usually more expensive, so keep this in mind if you’re on a budget. Don’t forget to check the weather forecast and plan extra time for holiday shoppers and travelers on the road.

                    If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home on the Sanibel & Captiva Islands, contact Kingfisher Real Estate today!

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