Archive for May, 2011

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What the future holds…

May 17, 2011

I love the saying “You don’t what the future holds, but you know who holds the future” and I truly believe that.

I think back to a few years ago when real estate was flying high and the good times seemed as if they would never end.  Of course, I knew that couldn’t be true because real estate simply couldn’t stay at that pace.

And so it is now…vastly different and at a changed pace. But we have to remember that it won’t stay this way forever. There are days when I waiver between highs and lows. But then I remember that my parents taught me to take the HIGH road. To stay in the lows is to sink into despair and a person of faith knows that if you truly believe – there is always hope. A person of faith may have a bad moment – but we don’t have a bad day because each day is too precious to waste.

So today we will go through the day, step by step and see where it leads us. As for me, all roads lead to home and that’s always a good thing.

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Show me the money…

May 15, 2011

If you have been reading my blogs then you would know this headline may be a bit misleading. It’s NOT really all about the money.

But when it does comes to money – people need to be smart. When I refer to people…I mean Sellers.

There used to be a thought process in selling real estate that the three things that mattered were PRICE, LOCATION and CONDITION. While it still remains true to some degree. I would argue that in our current market the ONLY thing that matters is PRICE.

The homes selling in the Central Florida area are priced right and priced to sell. That means short sales as well as non-distressed properties. In this market, your home has to be priced to compete. Sellers should understand why their home isn’t sold – it is most certainly going to come down to price. I have seen homes in the worst of condition that sell because they are priced to attract buyers. It is our job, as real estate sales educators to advise our clients accordingly. PRICE = SOLD.

Show them the money.

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More bad news for JUMBO loans

May 13, 2011

Just when you thought it was safe to jump back into the water…oh the dread.

I’m not really talking about sharks in our oceans – I am talking about the jumbo loan sharks and the debacle that is looming. Looks like the federal government is going to take a hard line on these jumbo loans and really cut off the people in the $500,000 to $1M loan category at the knees. Be prepared for a bucket load of strategic defaults with Sellers jumping overboard.

It is getting harder and harder to get any loan. But now Congress is working to get out of the high-end market (so called “jumbo” loans) and try the new “private banking” rescue of our homes for luxury properties. The result for many will be higher cost loans and fewer buyers for more expensive properties. To be clear, there are buyers and sellers in this price range but they can’t do it without a loan at this “mid-range” luxury price point.

In homes priced over one million, we see more cash buyers. But I call this mid-range group ($500K – $1M) as being in real estate purgatory. They are losing hope and they are losing hope fast.  

Michael S. Barr, a former assistant Treasury secretary, said the federal government’s retrenchment would be painful for many communities. “There’s always going to be a line, and for the person just over it it’s always going to be an arbitrary line,” said Mr. Barr, who teaches at the University of Michigan Law School. “But there is no entitlement to living in a home that costs $750,000.”

The problem with this logic is that it will trickle down and affect the entire housing industry. This is the start of some difficult times in the lending market and I believe we may witness many people bailing out of these homes to become renters. Watch for an increase in strategic defaults. I’m already seeing it from the perspective that I have more tenants on hand than high-end buyers. This could be catastrophic.

I don’t see private banking coming to the rescue. Why? Because the federal government is still going to tightly control bank reserves which further decreases loan availability. I would love to see someone with some real economic credentials figure out how badly this new policy could affect our ENTIRE housing industry.

In short, this could blow a lot of people out of the water. Sending out an SOS…

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Don’t worry – be happy!

May 12, 2011

You only have to review the top selling books at your local bookstore to realize that America needs a lift. Our nation is worried and the majority of best-selling books reflect this fact. Most books either tell us how to be more successful, how to be happy, how someone else achieved the perfect life, or teach us about how to set our world to rights. Holy smokes – that’s a lot of people with opinions out there on how to “fix” us and many of them are in the entertainment industry.

We are a nation of worriers – we are a nation of pessimists and we are a nation that can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel right now. It’s a wee bit distressing to see so much angst. Some people are so negative they would make the devil sad. It’s just reached catastrophic proportions.

But I tell you that better times are ahead. Better days will be coming. If you don’t believe it, then what’s the point?  The sky is not falling, we aren’t going to heck in a hand basket and there is still a chance to enjoy your life for years to come. I’m no expert – I just refuse to cave into fear and worry. It is pointless.

Believe in a better tomorrow. Have faith that we will survive this challenging time in our nation’s history. Belive that family, faith and love are still real and important. Believe and make it so.

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Home is where the Mom is…

May 8, 2011

 HAPPY MOTHER”S DAY!

Today I was reminded that there are many things you could buy Mom for this special day but the one thing that Mom’s make possible for us is a place we can call home.

In short, Mom = home.

While renting may be at an all time high and homes are not selling as quickly as real estate agents might like – I still know that Mom’s everywhere want to give their families a “home” regardless of their current conditions. It’s important to most Mom’s that you have a safe place filled with love, laughter, and best of all, home cooking!

I don’t believe home ownership will ever go out of style. There is just something special about owning your own home and making it perfect for your family.

As the old saying goes “No matter what, no matter where – it’s always home if Mom is there.”

Happy Mother’s Day.

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Looks matter…

May 7, 2011

I am preparing to sell my parent’s villa-style retirement home and I am getting ready to set the “stage” with color, light and stunning furniture & accessories. All this for a home that will sell under $200K. But I know in doing so – I’ll sell it faster than my competitors.

Why do I do this? Because in today’s real estate world – looks matter. They matter more than ever. I have noticed that you can show buyers great values but if the homes are ugly, dirty, smelly or just not exciting, then they won’t sell. Buyers want something pretty and they don’t want to do anything to make it pretty. They are looking for inherited pretty.

I recently had someone submit a contract on one of my listings where they asked for ALL the furniture and accessories in the home to be included in the purchase price. While this may be extreme, it further validates my belief that a visually stunning home will sell faster than a home without decorating. Buyers want it all.

There will always be investors looking for great buys. But investors are now buying dumps and turning them into show homes with staged furniture. It’s more common than ever and a smart move for savvy sellers. Have you noticed that even foreclosed homes are now getting a facelift and banks are reaping the benefit with higher sales prices?

So for anyone who wants to improve their chances of getting a home sold? Call in a decorator and get that home in show shape. It makes a difference.

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My messy nest…

May 6, 2011

This was the week that I was going to get totally organized and conquer my office clutter once and for all. I have been brainwashed to believe that a clean office = a clear mind.

But business distractions have taken me off course and my office remains the same. I have at times felt guilty about my inability to keep a “Martha Stewart” creative style work space but I have decided that I have to cut myself some slack here. I work hard and if the office isn’t perfect – too bad.

One of my favorite authors and commentators was William F. Buckley, Jr., and I remember the first time I saw his office (shown above) I was shocked at the insane amount of voluminous paperwork scattered about and the overall messiness. His wife was such a fashion icon and their impeccable home was the epicenter for cultural and political events. But I like the fact that his domain (in a separate part of their home) was HIS domain. Important people had to clear a space to sit in this office. Can you imagine that? What chutzpah!

While my office is NOT this bad – I wish it were better. But I also am glad that business continues and I’m too busy to worry about my desk looking perfect. I care more about meeting my client’s needs with a well written contract. After all, a happy client is more important than knowing where I hid my stapler. So for now, I’ll enjoy the rest of the week and work on the office Monday!