Archive for August, 2008

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Dear Mr. Future President…

August 31, 2008

Dear Mr. Future President:

As the housing industry goes…so goes the economy. This is important to remember.

More than half of all Americans think that with the election of a new President we will see an improvement in the housing industry. I tend to agree. Why? Because it can’t get any worse and no one, at this stage of the election process, seems to be willing to take a stand on housing and the economy. So yes…with a new President should come SOME relief from our housing crisis. But how will he do it?

Most Americans still believe in the dream of home ownership. Most, however, feel that they are going to be shut out of the market due to either their inability to get a loan, lack of down payment, or unrealistic housing prices. Mr. Future President, you have a problem.

For too long we have ignored what some refer to as our housing tsunami which has created a serious economic crisis for America. Interestingly, it’s going to start to have a ripple effect throughout the world soon. Someone, specifically our new President and our elected representatives have to start thinking of smart options to fix our housing crisis.

We have willing buyers and willing sellers but LENDERS are withdrawing in record numbers. Appraisers are afraid to assign any value to properties and the economy starts to tank. The federal government must step up and work with lenders to guarantee the loan process. For those who think the taxpayers should not “bail out” the housing market…think again. Without a housing rebound you may see the beginnings of a recession turn into something far worse.

Central Florida is starting to turn around. But it could just as easily slide back if we don’t find lenders willing to loan mortgage money to qualified buyers. Mr. Future President, think long and hard about today’s housing crisis. I think the future of our country and most certainly the success of your tenure will depend upon it.

God Bless America!

 

 

 

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Hurricane – Real Estate Roundup

August 30, 2008

You would think that the recent rash of hurricanes would hurt the housing industry but CENTRAL FLORIDA remains strong.

The good news – the number of homes currently under contract (3,258) is 26.72 percent greater than the number of homes that were under contract in July 2007 (2,571). Pending sales for the past three months have been greater than their 2007 counterparts.

In addition – There are 18,363 single-family homes currently listed in the MLS, nearly 1,000 less than this time last year. Most (3,132) are listed in the $200,000 – $250,000 price range.

This is ALL good news. Fewer homes for sale and higher pending contracts equal an improving market. HOMES ARE SELLING in spite of pessimism, negative press, crazy politics and HURRICANES. The real estate market in Orlando is starting to resemble the US Postal Service; neither rain, nor sleet nor dark of night or stinkin’ hurricanes will stop the sale of homes in Central Florida.

On top of that…high end homes (over $1M) in inventory have declined making it a stronger market as well. The mid range prices still suffer in a sort of real estate purgatory as we all await the tidal wave of foreclosures.

All in all…a GOOD TIME TO BUY. Jeez…how long do I have to repeat this mantra. If you are waiting for the bottom, you will wait yourself right out of this market. It’s here. Buy now. Call me.

PS: FHA rules change daily. If you are in the market for FHA financing (currently allowed up to $373,750 in Central Florida) you better jump on these loans quickly! You are running out of time for FHA loans unless Congress gets their act together and we all know how long that could take.

 

 

 

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Real Estate Negotiation – It is an art form!

August 19, 2008

Negotiation truly is an art form…you don’t have to be skilled at negotiating when you first enter the real estate business. You can learn how to successfully negotiate deals, but it takes hard work and practice to become really good at negotiation.

 

The truly skilled negotiator goes into the process with the goal of a positive outcome for all parties involved.  Skilled negotiators are many things but most importantly, they are good listeners. There is a subtle rule in real estate that goes “He [or she] who talks the least…wins.” This is really true. When you listen you are able to ascertain what you need to do to get your contract accepted.

 

  • Top negotiators have a number of things in common. First, they are confident. If anyone senses a weakness, they will attack. So go in confident that you will come to a successful resolution.
  • A successful negotiator is prepared and identifies key issues quickly. He or she seeks to be pro-active and resolve disputes before they become problems. Successful negotiators are creative, patient and keep an open mind.
  • But above all, successful negotiators look for the common ground in any situation. Every problem has a solution and it helps to prioritize the needs and wants of your client. Be a competent AND confident negotiator.
  • Finally, don’t have a “take it or leave it” mentality. Don’t walk away from a deal without first trying to come to a compromise. Be aware that an offer is a starting point and with proper negotiations everyone comes out a winner!

 

Real estate is really a game of numbers, patience,

compromise, persistence and communication. A good negotiator

becomes a master of all of these skills!

 

 

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Looking at Real Estate in Orlando through colored glasses…

August 16, 2008

As a little girl, I loved looking through a kaleidoscope. As you turned it, the colors and shapes and prisms would create a beautiful symphony of color and light. It never looked the same twice. I was fascinated. The interesting part is that I never stopped turning it; I always wanted to see what new vision would arrive around the next turn of the wheel. I was awed but never fully satisfied.

So too goes real estate in late 2008. It’s like a kaleidoscope, constantly shifting and changing with new patterns and new directions daily. It’s certainly not boring and I look forward to each day.

A year ago, the real estate world was not so bright. Even today, with almost 20% of homes in Orlando area in foreclosure or short sale status, it may sometimes, to the untrained eye, seem bleak. But as Bob Dylan once said, “the times they are a-changin.”

There is an increase in contracts, a decrease in listing inventory and a slight rise in interest rates. I also sense a return of consumer confidence. All this combined makes for a good time to buy real estate for regardless what the future holds, people still want to OWN their piece of the American dream…they want a place to call home.

Homes under contract have increased and I am seeing an increase in buyers. I think many buyers finally realize that we have bottomed out. Interest rates are going up but they still remain affordable and available to the consumers. We are working our way out of the mortgage mess.

Our problems aren’t going to vanish overnight and a perfect world is impossible. But there is a sweet spot where life blends beautifully with our reality and things fall into place.

A kaleidoscope can be a metaphor for life. We live in a world where things are moving and changing. Some times are better than others but the future looks brighter than the past. As the song goes…”I can see clearly now the rain has gone – I can see no obstacles in my way.” In short, it’s all good.

The only constant is change. Most importantly, we can’t change everything wrong with the world but we can change our perceptions. It’s still a great life and living in Central Florida has never been better. Put on your rose colored glasses, turn your world upside down and get ready for a fantastic future in Orlando. It’s not called the Magic Kingdom for nothing.

 

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Be It Ever so Humble…it’s HOME

August 6, 2008

by Linda Hutchinson

There’s no place like home but let’s face it – when it comes to luxury homes, no one is eating humble pie. Most people now think of home as the place where homeowners can strut their stuff.

Home is the new place to show off. With the advent of designer show homes and the popularity of HGTV we have created a sub-culture of decorating wanna-bees who go over the top with the latest in design and luxury touches.

When was the last new home you saw that did not include (a) stainless steel appliances (b) bowl bathroom sinks (c) Mediterranean exterior (d) all of the above. The amazing thing is a lack of originality and the fact that too much is not too much. In a time where the economy is tanking…excess is in. As F. Scott Fitzgerald once said “The rich are different from you and me.”

Humble pie? I don’t think so. It’s home style – supersized!

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Walk Don’t Run, The New American Neighborhood

August 4, 2008

by Linda Hutchinson

With gas prices reaching new highs and patience running thin…the needs of homebuyers are changing and causing a shift in housing patterns…it’s not just a move closer to the City…it’s a move in lifestyle.

The trend is moving toward walkable, urban areas. It doesn’t mean the end of the suburbs…there are still plenty of people who want to be away from the hustle and bustle and want the schools and suburban feel. But over the past few years I have personally witnessed a desire for homebuyers to be living the City lifestyle. They walk to grocery stores, to parks, to restaurants. Hence the strength of Central Florida real estate like Winter Park, College Park, and downtown Orlando neighborhoods. These areas tend to retain their home values and are still strong in sales. Finding affordable housing in these locales however is another story.

The new luxury is City living. The new luxury is walking! I predict this trend will continue and homes located in walkable areas will increase dramatically in value. No one wants to drive five miles to the grocery store anymore when you can get some exercise and shop at the same time. It’s chic to walk and it’s here to stay.