Feb. 11: A 3-D app for agents; what are builders building?

Rob Chrisman

Rob Chrisman began his career in mortgage banking – primarily capital markets – 31 years ago in 1985 with First California Mortgage, assisting in Secondary Marketing until 1988, when he joined Tuttle & Co., a leading mortgage pipeline risk management firm. He was an account manager and partner at Tuttle & Co. until 1996, when he moved to Scotland with his family for 9 months. See more


Florida Homestead law:


All states’ have current Homestead laws that are directly related to the original Federal Homestead Act of 1862 which promoted our country’s expansion in the mid to late 1800s. The great state of Florida offers some of the broadest and most generous protection compared to homestead laws of other states. The main reason is that there is NO limit to the value of property that can be identified as a resident’s permanent homestead. The Homestead Exemption applies to those who make a Florida property their permanent primary residence.


This is a great reason to get in touch with all your buyers from last year and be sure they know about Florida’s Homestead Exemption. Sending a reminder now is a great way to follow up and maybe get a new referral or two. Even when they were Second Home or Investment buyers, they’ll appreciate knowing about this. They have until March 1 to file and receive the property tax break for all of 2016. If they had homestead status on a previous home, they’ll need to establish their new one as homestead.


Florida’s Constitution and Statutes extend 3 different types of protection under Homestead Laws: Partial exemption from property taxes, Protection from forced sale, preserving full value. Safeguards for surviving spouse and/or minor children. Homestead Exemption for property taxes is NOT automatic. Property owners seeking the partial tax break must qualify and apply to the Property Appraiser’s Office in the county where the property is located. Filing for the exemption can be made up to March 1, though proof of residency must be dated before January 1st in order to receive the tax break for the upcoming year. Additional information can be viewed here.



First timers’ coming around?


Where are all the entry-level buyers and will they come around eventually? According to the census bureau statistics, 30.3 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds are living with a parent.

To keep it in perspective, in 1980, according to the Census, 22.9 percent of the total population ages 18 to 34 were living with a parent who was deemed the householder. In 1990, the percentage living with their parents increased to 24.2 percent. In 2000, the percentage dipped to 23.2 percent.


I think we all realize millennials are attached to technology. As a matter of fact, 80% sleeping with their cell phone next to the bed. FYI, in my world, they sleep with the phone in the bed. For some, this bed is in their parents’ homes, as 13% have “boomeranged” back because of the recession after living on their own. Thirty-six percent say they depend on financial support from their families. According to Brad Hunter, Metrostudy’s chief economist and director of strategic consulting, millennials are delaying getting married and starting their own families. The question is whether it is a “delay,” or a “cancellation.” He believes the answer is: both. Hunter’s analysis suggests that the “deferrals” will outnumber the “cancellations,” and that the implication is that the pent-up demand is real, and will emerge gradually over the next several years.


The fact is, millennials are still trying to gain traction in the working world. Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center, commented that “the recession hit when some millennials were just getting out of college and so they went straight into the unemployment line. And then when they were lucky enough to get a job, usually there was a lot of underemployment going on, meaning not necessarily full-time and part-time jobs but also at lower salary than they would otherwise,” adding “With the recession, the number of older workers that actually quit their jobs to get a better position, was down quite significantly.” If this is a primary reason for the delay in buying a home for the first time, there may be light on the horizon. 3.1 million Americans quit their jobs in the month of December based on information from The U.S. Department of Labor. That is the highest since December of 2006. Maybe the tides are finally beginning to turn with millennials looking toward a home buying future.


An app for everything:


James Hardie Building Products recently launched an iOS compatible 3D application that helps siding contractors obtain complete and accurate measurements of siding, trim, soffit and windows from smartphone photos. With the snap of a few photos, contractors can easily obtain exterior measurements and a 3D rendering of a home, which greatly reduces the guesswork of job estimates. And with 95 percent accuracy, it eliminates the need for manually re-measuring, saving replacement contractors’ time and money. The app allows users to interchange exterior design elements like windows and colors, so replacement contractors can give clients an instant visual of their home. With a 360-degree view, users can inspect every element of a home for a preview of the final product. The possibilities are truly endless right? The app is free on iTunes, and an Android version is currently in development.


What are builders building this year?


The latest data reveal that recently built homes are larger and contain more bedrooms and bathrooms than ever before. As of the third quarter of 2015, new single-family homes had a median size of 2,485 square feet, the largest in the 40 years of records. In comparison, the stock of all owner-occupied homes in 2013 had a median square footage of 1,800.


The expansion is a consequence of fewer first-time home buyers and more buyers with sterling credit sufficient to pass the tighter underwriting standards. A potential explanation may be what we currently know, which is, more and more millennial are living with their parents. As a result, builders are planning slightly more elaborate homes for 2016.


Two themes dominate what builders are most likely to include this year: storage and energy conservation. Builders reported a high likelihood for including a walk-in closet in the master bedroom, a separate laundry room, a kitchen island, a two-car garage, and linen closets in the non-master bathrooms. A few other space-eating items rated moderately high on the list, including a separate toilet compartment, space for kitchen dining, and a walk-in pantry. Builders rated a great room very close to the top, but were lukewarm on a separate home office and a living room. Media rooms and sunrooms were rated low by most respondents. Builders continue to put energy conservation items high on their list. Low-E windows were at the top, followed closely by Energy Star–rated appliances and windows and a programmable thermostat. Insulation greater than required by code and a multi-zone HVAC system were rated moderately high. A whole-house Energy Star rating ranked lukewarm; other energy and environmental rating systems were not included on the list.



Appraisers need photographs…and who hasn’t looked up the photo of the street view of their house on Google? Every once in a while you actually see the car driving around with the ball on top – the next time you do, try this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/21/google-street-view-car-flipped-the-bird_n_3769081.html?utm_hp_ref=technology.    





(Copyright 2016 Chrisman LLC. All rights reserved. Occasional paid job listings do appear. This report or any portion hereof may not be reprinted, sold or redistributed without the written consent of Rob Chrisman. To subscribe please visit www.knowledgeforrealestateagents.com.)