How long does it take to close on a house?

There are two main types of real estate transactions; cash and financed.
Cash transactions can close much more quickly than financed, but they will not close in a matter of days from contract. The necessary steps between contract and closing for a cash transaction are: Inspection, sometimes a survey and title. The inspection period is typically between seven and 14 days. During that time the buyer will normally have a right of refusal if the inspection reveals anything unacceptable. In some cases there are negotiations to remedy issues that are revealed as well, but they don’t stop the clock unless both parties agree to an extension of the inspection period. Once the inspection/right of refusal period ends, the buyer is obligated to purchase under the terms of the contract. In our experience, the title search can be as quick as a few days or as long as 15 days. During that time the title company will make sure that the seller has a clear title to the property and that there are no outstanding liens on the property. If any title issues are found, they must be corrected before the agreed to closing date on the contract unless both parties agree to an extension of closing. Since inspections, survey and title can be done concurrently, closing can happen as quickly as seven days from the date of contract. Naturally there are exceptions, but seven top 15 days is what we consider normal for a cash transaction.
Financed transactions take longer because there are more steps. Financed transactions typically take between 30 – 45 days with some being as quick as 20 days, but those are uncommon.The steps in a financed transaction are: Pre-approval, which is normally done before the contract is accepted, Inspection/right of refusal, appraisal, providing documentation to the lender, survey, underwriting and finally, closing. In a financed transaction, the inspection/right of refusal period is typically between 10 and 14 days. As with a cash transaction, once the inspection period has passed, the buyer is obligated to purchase unless they are unable to obtain financing after diligent efforts in which case the contract can be cancelled. Likewise, lenders will not loan more than the appraised value of the property. If the appraised value is less than a predetermined percentage of the purchase price, either the buyer or seller will have to make up the difference for the transaction to move forward. Failing to appraise is usually another acceptable reason to cancel the contract. If you’re the seller, it’s important to price the property appropriately. Even if your Realtor manages to find a buyer willing to overpay, their lender will not allow them to finance above a percentage of the appraised value. If this happens, the parties will have to re-negotiate or cancel the contract.
No matter what type of transaction, what the contract says goes. The only way to change what is agreed to in the contract is by a written addendum agreed to by both parties. All of the stated deadlines, terms and conditions are serious and failure to perform may have consequences. For that reason it is vital to have a competent Realtor to help the buyer or seller make sure every detail is taken care of correctly so there are no delays in closing. The Realtor, lender and title company should all work together to make sure everything goes as planned. Not every seller is willing or able to extend a closing date.

How to get a record price for a condo on the beach

The Challenge:

Sell a condo on the beach at a record price.  This condo is one where the owners spent over $200,000 in renovations and made it absolutely flawless. Although this is one of the best buildings on the beach, it far exceeds the finishes of any other unit in the building. Even the laundry room has granite counters and Kohler sink and fixtures!

The Analysis:

In order to get the asking price of $1,400,000, we would have to find someone who can appreciate not only the way it looks, but also the expensive materials and fine craftsmanship. This will require marketing on a national and international level to attract the right buyer.

The Plan:

To get a quick sale at maximum price, we needed to expose the property to  large pool of buyers very quickly. It was important to get out of town buyers to make the trip to see the property in person. To accomplish this, we created a custom marketing plan that included the following: Professional photography of the property and the beach. Professional aerial photography and videography showing the building and it’s proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, the distance from traffic and the surrounding area. A professional promotional video was also produced along with 3D Virtual Reality imaging. Brochures were printed and distributed. We also personally spoke with other residents to see if they may know of anyone who would like to live in the building. 

Advertising consisted of all the usual methods; listing in the MLS and over 80 public real estate web sites and services. We also did a comprehensive social media campaign with both organic distribution and targeted paid advertising to markets that were having a particularly hard winter and demographics that we determined would be good prospects. We also contacted every Broker and Agent we knew in the area and gave them good reasons to make sure their clients were shown the property.

We met every prospective buyer and gave them a personal tour informing them of all the details that justified the premium price of the property, and followed up with every buyer or buyer’s agent to help them make an informed decision.

Since the buyer was financing the purchase, and it is a record price for the building, the next issue to overcome was the possibility of the property not appraising for the purchase price. By law we can not discuss the value of the property with the Appraiser, but we can help the Appriser with factual information about the property and the comparables that we used in our own pricing analysis. This was vital in this transaction because part of the value of the property was the imported materials and high-end finishes that may not have been readily apparent to the Appraiser.

The Result:

We had a lot of showings and the property under contract in just 16 days at nearly asking price of $1,250,000. The closing went smoothly after one problem was resolved. The Buyers have a service animal, which the Condo Association did no initially agree was not a pet. That will be the subject of another white paper.

“From start to finish, Chuck and Pat provided professional support throughout the process of selling our home, starting with a thorough market assessment, recommendation of list price, photographing, doing 3D, videography, staging and listing the home. As a result, we sold our home literally to the first buyer with visited our home. Even after the home went under contract, Chuck did the small, but cumbersome things like helping us make repairs, doing necessary paperwork, communicating back and forth to the buyers and anything else needed to assure a timely and successful closing. We would highly recommend to anyone, using him either to sell your home,
or buy one.”

Prices are Up, Inventory is Down and Mortgage Rates are Up. What does that Mean?

The crazy real estate ride continues.
So what does it all mean?



Here in Pinellas County, Prices are up as a direct result of inventory being down. It’s a simple issue of supply and demand. Where it gets interesting is how the increase in mortgage rates figures into the equation.

What the market is showing us is that the availability of homes is continuing to decrease at double digit rates and as a result the prices are going up at a similar rate. When interest rates go up, the purchase price people can get approved for goes down.

There’s no shortage of speculation and the truth is that no one knows for sure what the future holds. The best we can do is take a look at past patterns and known cause and effect. In my opinion everything is cyclical and if we look at the numbers this is a perfect time to sell.

If I’m a Seller, I’m set. Right?

If you’re a seller and your house is in a good location, in good condition and priced right it will sell in a short amount of time. Our average days to contract is 13 days right now! That always leaves the question “could I have gotten more?” Because the market is so hot, many people skip the advertising and marketing and rely solely on the MLS and signs to save money. If that’s the case, yes, you could have gotten more. We use the same advertising and marketing strategies in a seller’s market as we do in a buyer’s market so we can get the largest pool of possible buyers as quickly as possible. That way, the best price can be obtained and still sell quickly. The way we see it, if we’re not doing everything possible to sell the property at the maximum price and as quickly as possible, we’re not serving our client fully.

One thing that won’t happen is to get way more than the property is worth. The stories you hear about people getting way more than their property is worth are very few and far between. There are two reasons, banks won’t loan on overpriced property and people with cash almost always know better than to overpay.

So, what if I’m a buyer?

If you’re looking for your next home, you’ll need two things to be successful; speed and information. By the time the listings get to the consumer real estate web sites it’s too late. Pat and I have access to information before it becomes public and in many cases, because of our vast network, before it becomes available to other Agents. We also have a number of ethical and clever ways of getting your offer accepted even if it isn’t the highest offer or the one with the best terms. It’s all a matter of research and expert negotiation. In fact, Pat and I are among the few Realtors who have earned the certification of Certified Real Estate Negotiation Expert.

Let’s chat about it! Call, text or email any time. Pat and I love to help and make new friends. I can be reached at 727.743.1740 or, Pat can be reached at 813.220.4898 or

The best virtual tours ever

We go the extra mile and have 3D Virtual Tours done. These are not like the ones you’ve seen before, these are very easy to use and really give the experience of being there. Take a look at this one we just did for our listing at 9010 Baywood Park Drive in Seminole:

For more information or a private tour, contact us!

Here’s how it’s done

It starts with a special camera made by Matterport. The camera has multiple lenses and infrared sensors that measure distances in all directions from the camera. The camera turns around scanning the room and making three dimensional measurements at the same time. The home above took over 50 scans in all. Once all the scans are done, special software is used to map the 3D space and assemble the images. The photographer then makes any corrections and refinements necessary and it’s saved to a special web server with software to serve the images to the web. The entire process takes several hours and we think it’s well worth the investment.
It’s amazing technology and we’ve seen homes sold sight-unseen because of it!

matterport camera

A Matterport camera

Vosburgh Sells Home with a DC-7 Attached

Author: WTSP Staff

ST. PETERSBURG — Chuck Vosburgh knows all about planes. As the son of a pilot, he was given a front row seat to the world of aviation as a boy.

It didn’t hurt that he lived in a house with a plane attached to it, either.

“They brought me home from the hospital to this house,” he said, standing in his parents’ living room. “This is home.”

At just about 2,000 square feet, with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, the house represents a lot of things to Vosburgh. And as a realtor, he had the responsibility of selling his parents’ home and showing off its unique feature.

More than three decades after helping his dad put the distinctive side room into their home, Chuck got to show it off to potential buyers.

“We had an open house and this place was packed,” said Pat. “Everybody wanted to see it.”

It took all of two days to get an offer on the house, which Chuck accepted.

The house, cockpit and all, leaves an impression of everyone who visits.

“He slid open the door and I went, ‘Oh my goodness, this is really something’,” said Chucks’ wife, Pat. “There is a DC-7 here!”

Watch the Video

Which Way Should Your Ceiling Fan Turn in Summer?

Lisa Kaplan Gordon

The wrong direction could make you even hotter.

Most fans are reversible: One direction pushes air down, creating a nice summer breeze; the other direction sucks air up, helping you distribute heat in winter. There’s normally a switch on the motor to change the fan’s direction.

Is your fan turning in the right direction for summer?

Stand beneath the running fan, and if you feel a cooling breeze, it’s turning correctly.
If not, change directions, usually by flicking a switch on the fan’s base.
Typically, it’s counterclockwise or left for summer and clockwise for winter, but the best method is to follow the steps above.

Funny note: We read on Yahoo! that one clever person used bubbles to see which direction his fan was blowing.

5 Things That REALLY Will Put a Serious Dent in Your Energy Bills

Christina Hoffmann

Stop sending so much money to your utility company with these simple strategies.

Your Mexican beach vacation was great, but, man, those margaritas sure can put on the pounds. It’s been two months, and you’re still carrying around an extra tenner — despite a new running routine and a lot of #&*&@$ kale. So why isn’t your weight dropping?

It’s like that with energy bills, too. Eighty-nine percent of us believe we’re doing the right things to lower energy costs, and almost half of us think our homes already are energy efficient. Yet, 59% of us say our bills are going up, not down, despite our efforts to economize.

Suzanne Shelton, CEO of the Shelton Group, a marketing agency that specializes in energy efficiency and that did this research, says we’re rationalizing: “I bought these [LEDs] so now I can leave the lights on and not pay more. I ate the salad, so I can have the chocolate cake.” Denial much?

Her research also shows consumers, on average, made fewer than three energy-efficient improvements in 2012 compared with almost five in 2010. It looks like we’re giving in to higher utility bills. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

You just need to know what improvements really will make the biggest difference to lower your bills. There are five, and the good news is that they’re really (seriously) cheap. You can go straight to them here, but there’s also another thing you can do that doesn’t cost a dime — and will drop your costs:

Be Mindful About Your Relationship With Energy

Think about it. Energy is the only product we buy on a daily basis without knowing how much it costs until a month later, says Cliff Majersik, executive director of the Institute for Market Transformation, a research and policy-making nonprofit focused on improving buildings’ energy efficiency.

With other services you get a choice of whether to buy based on price. With energy you don’t get that choice — unless you intentionally decide not to buy. You can take control by making yourself aware that you’re spending money on something you don’t need each time you leave home with the AC on high, lights and ceiling fans on, and your computer wide awake.

Related: Did You Know You Should Never Leave a Ceiling Fan on When You Leave a Room?

That mindfulness is important because your relationship with energy is getting more intense. You (and practically every other person on the planet) are plugging in more and more. Used to be that heating and cooling were the biggest energy hogs, but now appliances, electronics, water heating, and lighting together have that dubious honor, according to Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, based on data from U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the research arm of the Department of Energy (DOE).

Being mindful means it’s also time to banish four assumptions that are sabotaging your energy-efficiency efforts:

1. Newer homes (less than 30 years old) are already energy efficient because they were built to code. Don’t bank on it. Building codes change pretty regularly, so even newer homes benefit from improvements, says Lee Ann Head, vice president of research and insights with the Shelton Group.

2. Utilities are out to get us: They’ll jack up prices no matter what we do. It might feel cathartic to blame them (Shelton’s research shows consumers blame utilities above oil companies and the government), but to get any rate changes, utilities must make a formal case to public utility commissions.

3. Energy improvements should pay for themselves. Nice wish, but it doesn’t work that way. When the Shelton Group asked consumers what they would expect to recoup if they invested $4,000 in energy-efficient home improvements, they said about 75% to 80%.

Unless you invest in some kind of renewable energy source like geothermal and solar, you won’t see that kind of savings. (Sorry.) Even if you do all the right things, the most you should expect is a 20% to 30% reduction annually, says Head, which is still significant over the long term.

What does 30% translate into? $618 in savings per year or $52 per month, based on the average household energy spend of $2,060 per year, according to Lawrence Berkeley and EIA.

4. Expensive improvements will have the biggest impact. That’s why homeowners often choose pricey projects like replacing windows, which should probably be fifth or sixth on the list of energy-efficient improvements, Shelton says.

There’s nothing wrong with investing in new windows. They feel sturdier; look pretty; can increase the value of your home; feel safer than old, crooked windows; and, yes, offer energy savings you can feel (no more draft).

But new windows are the wrong choice if your only reason for the project was reducing energy costs. You could replace double-pane windows with new efficient ones for about $9,000 to $12,000 and save $27 to $111 a year on your energy bill, according to EnergyStar. (The savings are higher if you replace single-pane windows.) Or you could spend around $1,000 for new insulation, caulking, and sealing, and save 11% on your energy bill, or $227.

The 5 Things That Really Work to Cut Energy Costs

1. Caulk and seal air leaks. Buy a few cans of Great Stuff and knock yourself out over a weekend to seal around:

Plumbing lines
Electric wires
Recessed lighting
Savings: Up to $227 a year — even more if you add or upgrade your insulation.

2. Hire a pro to seal ductwork and give your HVAC a tune-up. Leaky ducts are a common energy-waster.

Savings: Up to $412 a year.

3. Program your thermostat. Shelton says 40% of consumers in her survey admit they don’t program their thermostat for energy savings. She thinks it’s even higher.

Savings: Up to $180 a year.

4. Replace all your light bulbs with LEDs. They’re coming down in price, making them even more cost effective.

Savings: $75 a year or more by replacing your five most frequently used bulbs with Energy Star-rated models.

5. Reduce the temperature on your water heater. Set your tank heater to 120 degrees — not the 140 degrees most are set to out of the box. Also wrap an older water heater and the hot water pipes in insulating material to save on heat loss.

Savings: $12 to $30 a year for each 10-degree reduction in temp.

NOTE: Resist the urge to total these five numbers for annual savings. The estimated savings for each product or activity can’t be summed because of “interactive effects,” says DOE. If you first replace your central AC with a more efficient one, saving, say, 15% on energy consumption, and then seal ducts, you wouldn’t save as much total energy on duct sealing as you would have if you had first sealed them. There’s just less energy to save at that point.

Bonus Tip for More Savings

Your utility may have funds available to help pay for energy improvement. Contact them directly, or visit DSIRE, a database of federal, state, local, and utility rebates searchable by state. Energy Star has a discount and rebate finder, too.

How to Keep Your House Cool

Want summer comfort but hate the AC? Follow these tips on how to keep your house cool without frosty air conditioning.

You don’t have to switch on the air conditioner to get a big chill this summer.

These tips will help you keep your house cool without AC, which will save energy (and avoid AC wars with your family.

Block That Sun!

When sunlight enters your house, it turns into heat. You’ll keep your house cooler if you reduce solar heat gain by keeping sunlight out.

Close the drapes: Line them with light-colored fabric that reflects the sun, and close them during the hottest part of the day. Let them pillow onto the floor to block air movement.

Add awnings: Install them on south- and west-facing windows to reduce solar heat gain by up to 77%, says the U.S. Department of Energy. Make your own by tacking up sheets outside your windows and draping the ends over a railing or lawn chair.

Install shutters: Interior and exterior shutters not only reduce heat gain and loss, but they also add security and protect against bad weather. Interior shutters with adjustable slats let you control how much sun you let in.

Apply high-reflectivity window film: Install energy-saving window films on east- and west-facing windows, which will keep you cool in summer, but let in warming sun in the winter. Mirror-like films are more effective than colored transparent films.

Open Those Windows

Be sure to open windows when the outside temperature is lower than the inside. Cool air helps lower the temps of everything — walls, floors, furniture — that will absorb heat as temps rise, helping inside air say cooler longer.

To create cross-ventilation, open windows on opposite sides of the house. Good ventilation helps reduce VOCs and prevents mold.


Fix Energy-Sucking Windows for Good
Repair or Replace Your Old Windows?
Fire Up Fans

Portable fans: At night, place fans in open windows to move cool air. In the day, put fans where you feel their cooling breezes (moving air evaporates perspiration and lowers your body temperature). To get extra cool, place glasses or bowls of ice water in front of fans, which will chill the moving air.

Ceiling fans: For maximum cooling effect, make sure ceiling fans spin in the direction that pushes air down, rather than sucks it up. Be sure to turn off fans when you’re not in the room, because fan motors give off heat, too.

Whole house fans: A whole-house fan ($1,000 to $1,600, including install) exhausts hot inside air out through roof vents. Make sure your windows are open when you run a whole-house fan.

Power Down Appliances

You’ll save money and reduce heat output by turning off appliances you’re not using, particularly your computer and television. Powering down multiple appliances is easier if you connect them to the same power strip.

Don’t use heat- and steam-generating appliances — ranges, ovens, washers, dryers — during the hottest part of the day. In fact, take advantage of the heat by drying clothes outside on a line.

Plant Trees and Vines

These green house-coolers shade your home’s exterior and keep sunlight out of windows. Plant them by west-facing walls, where the sun is strongest.

Deciduous trees, which leaf out in spring and drop leaves in fall, are best because they provide shade in summer, then let in sun when temperatures drop in autumn. Select trees that are native to your area, which have a better chance of surviving. When planting, determine the height, canopy width, and root spread of the mature tree and plant accordingly.

Climbing vines, such as ivy and Virginia creeper, also are good outside insulators. To prevent vine rootlets or tendrils from compromising your siding, grow them on trellises or wires about 6 inches away from the house.

Speaking of shade, here are smart, inexpensive ideas for shading your patio.

Want more tips for staying cool this summer? Substitute CFL and LED bulbs for hotter incandescent lights.

Also, try insulating your garage door to prevent heat buildup.

Chuck Vosburgh Earns Designation in Global Real Estate Network

Chuck Vosburgh Earns Designation in Global Real Estate Network

Chuck Vosburgh of NextHome Gulf to Bay has earned the Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation, placing him among 3,500 elite real estate professionals in over 45 countries. The designation was awarded to him by the National Association of REALTORS® for completing rigorous coursework devoted to learning international real estate practices and demonstrating proficiency in international business.

The CIPS designation is synonymous with advanced expertise, a global perspective, and distinct understanding of a global buyer. As a designee, Vosburgh has the knowledge and resources to efficiently work with international buyers, including U.S. residents looking to invest overseas, foreign buyers purchasing in the United States, as well as recent immigrants who might be unfamiliar with real estate transaction practices in the United States.

For more information contact Chuck Vosburgh, email, phone 727.743.17640 or visit

For more information on the CIPS designation, visit

Chuck and Pat Vosburgh Earn NAR Pricing Strategy Advisor Certification

Saint Petersburg, May 16, 2016 — Charles and Patricia Vosburgh with NextHome Gulf to Bay have earned the nationally recognized Pricing Strategy Advisor (PSA) certification. The National Association of REALTORS® offers the PSA certification to REALTORS® as determining property values depends more than ever on professional expertise and competence, the best use of technology, and a commitment to approach the pricing assignment from various perspectives.
“The market demands accurate property value assessments, so NAR is excited to provide Realtors® with enhanced tools, education and expertise to determine the most accurate value for a home and give their clients a leg up when buying or selling,” said NAR President Tom Salomone, broker-owner of Real Estate II Inc. in Coral Springs, Florida.

Chuck and Pat have the knowledge and skills to select appropriate comparables and make accurate adjustments, guide sellers and buyers through the details of comparative market analyses and the underlying pricing principles that inform them, and interact effectively with appraisers.