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6 Reasons You'll Need a Real Estate Agent in this Market

Real Estate Tips

Over the last couple of years, we've seen record low inventory, significant demand, and low-interest rates, which have created an unprecedented seller's market. While rising rates are expected to cool things off a bit, sellers are still very much in the driver's seat.

However, our real estate agents say buying a home in this market isn't impossible. Buyers just have to adjust their approach. It's also never been more important to have an experienced real estate agent in your corner. An agent is critical for navigating the complexities of today's market and avoiding costly pitfalls. Here's why:

  1. See Listings As Soon As They Hit The Market
    Properties aren't sitting on the market very long these days, which is why you'll want to get in to see them as soon as possible. Your agent can let you know the minute a property hits the market. The multiple listing service (MLS) website, which is only available to real estate agents, can be configured to send you an email the moment a listing matches your criteria. Speed is essential when it comes to booking home tours, and you can rely on your real estate agent to battle for an appointment time. Your agent may even be in the loop on new properties before they hit the market and can get you in ahead of the competition. For example, if you'd like to schedule a tour of one of these Bradenton homes for sale, a good agent can get you in to see one today.

  2. Help You Spot Potential Pitfalls
    It's hard to spot potential problems during a 15-minute home tour. As a buyer, you'll likely spend the time trying to envision yourself living in the space. Therefore, you can rely on your agent to be an experienced second set of eyes that can help you spot problems, costly pitfalls, or other elements of the home that you may overlook.

  3. Draft A Competitive Offer
    To win a bidding war these days, buyers often have to get creative. Your agent can help you draw up an offer that stands out from the competition. Whether it's waiving inspections, increasing earnest deposit, or determining the right offer price, an experienced agent likely has a good sense of what it'll take to "win" the home.

  4. Administrative Tasks
    There is a lot of documentation involved in the home closing process. It's important that you have an experienced real estate professional in your corner to help you wade through the paperwork. Your agent can take the time to walk you through the various documents, so you know exactly what you're signing.

  5. Coordinate Inspections
    Your real estate agent has a wide network of industry contacts, so they can refer you to reputable inspectors, contractors, and other service providers who can help support the transaction. They'll also work to schedule these appointments on your behalf.

  6. Negotiate On Your Behalf
    Most real estate transactions involve some negotiating. Whether it's contingencies, repairs, or the final sale price, negotiating terms takes time and energy. If you're in the market for one of these Sarasota homes for sale, you want someone in your corner who knows what they're doing.

Buying a home is challenging in today's market, but a good agent can help you find success. Contact us today to start exploring local listings.


How to Protect Yourself From Phishing Scams

Tips to Avoid Phishing

When you're buying a home, you often have a full to-do list. You have to arrange financing for your new home and get your old property prepared to sell or move out of. It's likely that you have multiple things demanding your attention; this, unfortunately, can make you susceptible to phishing scams.

A phishing scam is a scam that uses a text message, phone call, or email to trick people into revealing their sensitive information. The scammer makes the scam message appear as if it's from a company that you know, like your bank, credit card company, a retailer, or even a government entity.

Once you click the link or contact the scammer with your info, they're able to use it to access your financial accounts or potentially open financial products in your name. The scammers can then run up debt in your name or steal your money. 

Phishing scams can even be real estate related to trick would-be homeowners into revealing their info in hopes of navigating the home buying process. Our real estate agents recommend following these tips to protect yourself from phishing scams. 

  • Never Reply to a Suspicious Text or Email
    If you receive a text or email that claims there's a problem, don't reply to the message. The scammer wants you to worry and immediately reply. Instead, look up the phone number for the company that the message claims to be from (using a reputable source, like the company's official webpage). Then, call the company directly to see if there's an issue with your account. This guideline also applies to phone calls you receive requesting information to correct a "problem." Hang up, and call the company back using the number that you locate on their official website. Don't depend on your caller ID to vet a company; it's possible for scammers to spoof information so that the name and number appear to be authentic. When preparing to buy one of the Sarasota homes for sale, these guidelines also apply. You don't want to provide information that can compromise your identity or result in the theft of your savings when you're trying to buy a home. 
  • Avoid Clicking on Links or Attachments
    Never click on links or attachments that are in a potential phishing message. Links and attachments can download tracking software to your device that will steal your information. 
  • Keep Your Software and Operating Systems Updated
    While exploring Bradenton homes for sale, it's important to keep your devices updated. Check that your mobile devices and computers are scheduled to automatically update your software. Operating software frequently receives patches to fix potential security bugs. You should also confirm that your computer has updated antivirus software. 
  • Know the Warning Signs That Something is Off
    There are often a few warning signs that indicate something is off with a message. Typically, there are spelling and grammar errors in the message. While the message may initially appear to be from a reputable company, there are usually things that reveal it's a scam. The website may slightly vary from the company's official webpage, or the email address the message is sent from isn't the company's authentic address. The business's name may also be misspelled. Reputable companies don't usually ask for sensitive information via text message, email, or phone. 

Following these tips can help you avoid a phishing scam. One of the best ways to protect yourself from real estate phishing scams is to have an experienced agent in your corner, helping you out through the process. Contact us today!


Buying Your First Home? Why Now is the Perfect Time!

Buying Your First Home

Ready to buy your first home? 2020 has been a year unlike any other, and there are unique opportunities available to anyone who is dreaming of becoming a homeowner for the first time. Interest rates are lower than ever, sellers are very motivated to find qualified buyers, and you can take detailed tours of available homes without leaving your current residence. Our real estate agents have all the details on why this is the perfect time to shop for your first home, and how you can prepare for this opportunity.

  • A Unique Opportunity with Historically Low-Interest Rates
    As of July 2020, interest rates for a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to an all-time low of less than 2.98 percent, the first time ever that rates have dipped below three percent. Lower interest rates make it easier to get "more home" for your money and help keep your mortgage payments lower over time. These record-low rates won't last forever, which makes this a unique opportunity to purchase your first home.
  • Tour Homes Online or In Person
    Shopping for Bradenton homes for sale, but not able to tour homes in person right away? 2020 has seen a major surge in the use of virtual tours and virtual open houses, which allow you to tour homes from the comfort of your computer or mobile device. No matter where you currently live, you can now shop from a distance in your target neighborhoods.

Tips to Help Land Your Perfect First Home in This Unique Market

  • Review Your Credit Report and Boost Your Score
    Putting together a competitive offer for Sarasota homes for sale is much easier when you have strong credit. Request your annual free credit report from the three major bureaus at, and ask your REALTOR® about opportunities to improve your score. Once your credit is looking strong, avoid opening new lines of credit or making large purchases until after you have purchased your home.
  • Start Saving for Your Down Payment
    Making a larger down payment has two key advantages because it helps keep your mortgage payments down while also increasing the appeal of your offer to sellers. Saving as much as possible in advance will improve your purchasing power.
  • Research Loan Options and Get Pre-Approved
    If you want sellers to seriously consider your offer, then getting pre-approved for a mortgage is a must. There are many different types of loans available, so it's wise to research what various lenders have to offer before making your choice.
  • Find A Qualified Real Estate Agent
    Especially in this highly competitive "seller's market" if you want to land the perfect home, you need the right real estate agent. A good agent is especially important when shopping for your first home because they can walk you through all of the details of the purchasing process. Your agent can help you analyze the market, identify properties that fit your ideal specs, negotiate the best possible deal when you find a home, and act as a trusted advocate during every step of the process.

Ready to purchase your first home, but still searching for the real estate agent who will help you cross the finish line? Contact us to buy and sell homes in the Manatee and Sarasota, FL area.


Home Buyers Guide: How to Win in a Seller's Market

Buying in a Seller's Market
Open houses are packed to the rafters, "for sale" signs are few and far between, and the appealing properties that do make it to the market are selling before you even get a chance to pull out your checkbook...What do you do when you're working to buy a home, and see the signs of seller's market all around you?

Buying a house in a seller's market is never going to be easy, but it's absolutely possible if you're willing to make some extra effort. Our REALTORS® know what it takes to navigate a seller's market, and we've put together five must-know tips to help you do the same.

5 Tips for Buying a House in a Seller's Market

  1. Find the Right Real Estate Agent
    Purchasing a house is a complex process even in a buyer's market, so when you're trying to navigate a seller's market it really helps to have the right real estate agent. Your real estate agent should have a deep understanding of the local real estate market, good relationships with listing agents, and experience helping buyers land homes in competitive markets. But finding the right agent is only the first step. Once you do, you'll want to stay in contact, ask questions, and work with your agent to quickly identify homes that match your needs.

  2. Get to Know the Listing Agent
    In order to make a competitive bid right away, it's important to understand exactly what the seller is looking for in an offer. So once you find the right real estate agent and line up some homes that fit your needs, asking your agent to contact the listing agent is a great way to find out what it will take to make a winning offer. Remember that a phone call to the listing agent will typically yield much more valuable information than an email or text.

  3. Prioritize Wants vs. Needs
    Being prepared to pounce when you find the right home is essential in a seller's market, and it's a good idea to understand exactly what you're looking for in a home. So if you're searching for homes for sale in Bradenton, for example, consider what you want, what you need, and what you can live without. Knowing what you want ahead of time helps give you the confidence to make a competitive bid when you identify the right home.

  4. Be Ready to Bid Competitively
    In a buyer's market, you may have the luxury of starting out with a lower offer and negotiating from a more favorable position. Time is such a huge factor in a seller's market that starting out with a low-ball offer will often mean losing the opportunity to buy. Be prepared to make a very strong offer right away, and let the seller know that you mean business.

  5. Write a Letter
    Let's say you're looking for Sarasota homes, you find the absolute perfect match, and you know there will be a lot of competition for the home. Your offer is already strong, but what can you do to help make that final push? Try writing an honest, heart-felt letter to the homeowner, to let them know exactly why you're so excited about the property. It won't win you the deal on its own, but a letter can really help sway the seller to your side.

Are you searching for the right real estate team to help you land your first-choice home in a competitive market? Contact Wagner Realty for all of your real estate needs in the Sarasota and Bradenton, Floridareal estate areas.

Contact Wagner Realty


10 Traits of a Great Neighborhood

10 Traits of a Great Neighborhood
Finding the right home may be your top priority as a shopper, but identifying the right neighborhood is just as important for landing a home you'll love long-term. Our REALTORS® know what it takes to become a neighborhood expert, and we've compiled the top 10 traits of a great neighborhood.

How to Find a Neighborhood You'll Truly Love

  1. Easy Access to Key Services
    Whether you need to shop for groceries, go to the gym, stop at the post office, or simply run your daily errands, having the services you need close to home makes it much easier to get things done. So if you're shopping Sarasota homes for sale, keep an eye out for neighborhoods that allow you to take care of business.

  2. Fun and Entertainment Close to Home
    Every neighborhood offers something to do, but the right neighborhood for you will have entertainment options that match your taste. If you like the idea of a master-planned community with nearby entertainment options, check out Lakewood Ranch homes.

  3. Local Businesses
    Small businesses are the lifeblood of so many neighborhoods because they provide necessary services, unique products, and fun activities close to home. An active, growing small business community is a sign of a great neighborhood, so be sure to sample the local business scene.

  4. Great Food
    We all have our own neighborhood preferences, but most would agree that great food close to home is a major plus. Look for a neighborhood that offers all of your favorite dining options, along with new things to try. Becoming a neighborhood expert has never tasted so good.

  5. Safe Streets
    Whether you're shopping for a family home or flying solo, finding a neighborhood with low crime rates is certainly an important priority. Try visiting neighborhoods both during the day and at night to get an idea of security in the area.

  6. Strong Schools
    Perhaps you're shopping with your family in mind, or you simply want to leave the option open in the future. Either way, finding a neighborhood with a strong school system will serve you well.

  7. Spectacular Scenery
    It's so nice to be able to sit on your patio or peer out the window and enjoy spectacular scenery close to home. Shopping for a home near the water is a great idea if you're looking for lovely views, and Longboat Key homes are a perfect example.

  8. Walkability and Public Transportation
    Do you enjoy being able to walk to nearby amenities, or hopping on public transportation rather than driving to work? Finding a neighborhood with transportation options that fit your lifestyle will make life much easier.

  9. Outdoor Fun
    You won't have any trouble finding outdoor fun in Florida neighborhoods, but it's still a good idea to make sure that a neighborhood offers your favorite outdoor activities. Homes for sale in Bradenton make it easy to enjoy all of the outdoor entertainment our corner of Florida has to offer.

  10. The Right Fit for You
    We have covered many of the topics that shoppers find most important in neighborhoods, but ultimately this process is all about finding the right fit for you. Try creating a list of your own ideal neighborhood features, and rank them in order of priority.

Whether you're still searching for the perfect neighborhood or you already have an ideal match in mind, our local real estate team is here to help you cross the finish line. Contact Wagner Realty to buy and sell homes in the Sarasota/Bradenton area.

Contact Wagner Realty


Should Your Next Florida Home Be a Smart Home?

Smart Homes in Florida
Throughout Sarasota, Bradenton, and other Florida cities, smart homes are becoming some of the most desirable around. A smart home is equipped with powerful automation features that you control using a mobile device. 

The integrated technology of a smart home may make you feel like you are living in the future. 

A smart home is an especially cool idea for people in the Sunshine State. This is because many smart homes have features that will help you beat the heat during the hot summer months. Your smart home can also help you save on cooling costs.

Smart Home Features that Florida Residents Love

Some of the most popular smart technology features in Florida homes.

  • Access Your Home Remotely
    With a smart home, you can access your home and even its appliances remotely. You can monitor security footage, adjust lighting or temperature, lock and unlock the doors--just to name a few. You never have to feel cut off from your home even if you are on a long trip. You can get instant alerts to your phone if a door opens or other trigger event takes place.

  • Wake Up Bright and Early with Smart Shading
    Sunshine is one of the best parts of living in Florida, but not when you're trying to sleep. Smart shading helps wake you on time by gradually letting in more sunlight as your accustomed wake-up time draws near.

  • Protect Your Home with Smoke, Fire, Gas, and Flood Warnings
    While on vacation, you want to secure your home while you are away. With smart home technology, your home practically takes care of itself. If a fire breaks out, you'll know within minutes. Specialized CO2 detectors for common and deadly gas can also be tied into your system.

  • Keep Cool Without Constantly Adjusting Your Thermostat
    If you polled Floridians about their most important home feature, air conditioning would be near the top of the list. A smart home can monitor temperature patterns and make sure that your whole home remains at the optimal comfort level throughout the day. It can even adjust the temperature and lighting based on which rooms you are using.

  • Save Money with More Precise and Granular Controls
    Smart homes can even tap into sophisticated systems such as solar panels and solar appliances. Because devices on the "smart grid" can be adjusted minutely based on changing conditions, they generally save money and spend less time running. You could save on cooling, hot water, your refrigerator, and much more besides.

Contact Wagner Realty to learn more about homes in Sarasota and Bradenton you are sure to love. Our REALTORS® will be glad to help in your home search every step of the way.

Contact Wagner Realty

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