Archive for the ‘Home trends’ Category

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Cash is KING for real estate & other random real estate thoughts.

August 24, 2012

This may be a wild and wooly post but I’m just going to share whatever is on my mind today:

What in the world is going on in real estate in Orlando? I’m glad you asked. It’s a rather unique market right now with super low inventory of homes for sale and still lots and lots of distressed properties on the market. Not as many foreclosures but a lot more short sales.

I am seeing multiple bids on homes that are in move-in condition. I listed and sold a home in ONE day recently that was located in Winter Park and was completely remodeled. We had a bidding war and over 20 showings in two days. Absolute madness. What this tells me is that there are so few homes available that are in pristine condition that people will swarm over the good homes for sale. Note to Sellers: FIX YOUR HOUSE UP and make it shine. It paid off for my Sellers in a BIG way.

I recently had a chance to speak with an appraiser (yes…he actually spoke to me) and he told me that 8 out of 10 homes he appraises are fixed up and renovated. He hasn’t appraised a dumpy house in a long time. It is interesting to note that most people are looking for that type of home. After buying a home with 20% down, there isn’t a whole lot of extra cash leftover to fix up the home. So have your home in beautiful condition and watch the offers come in.

There are still distressed homes for sale and while lenders are putting lipstick on these pigs (i.e. paint and carpet)…they are still often showing signs of neglect. The interesting thing is that people are still bidding high on foreclosed homes. I am not sure what is going on here because who wants to OVERPAY for a home anymore? Have buyers lost their minds? Foreclosures are NOT a “deal” at the moment.

Finally, investors are still out there trying to work creative financing and get all sorts of hinky transactions closed. Flippers are back. I won’t deal with anything that may appear unethical and some of these deals just don’t seem “right” to me. Best to move forward with buyers who are working the deal with integrity. That is not to say that investors are not ethical…I just have not felt comfortable with the ones that have approached me lately.

Finally, CASH is KING. If you want to guarantee your offer will be accepted, I hope you are lucky to have cash. People know that the mortgage process is still dicey with resulting delays as things move through underwriting. If you have CASH…you have a guaranteed deal once you pass the inspection phases.

That’s real estate in a nutshell for Orlando…things are moving and selling but we have precious little homes available for sale. If you want TOP DOLLAR for your house – now is the time. I have not seen prices this good in a long time. Let’s get selling…

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STOP massive sale of foreclosed homes.

December 16, 2011

There is a simple way to address our current housing crisis – the sale of distressed properties could be easily slowed or stopped with ONE SIMPLE STEP. Banks need to write down the loans on homes that are underwater and allow good borrowers to refinance at today’s lower interest rates.

The most distressing things for most homeowners is that their homes are so UNDERVALUED that they will NEVER see a time when their home will be worth what they owe on it. It’s a reality and it is discouraging. Banks can start to turn the economy and housing around by going to people who are not in distress and beginning the process of re-evaluating value and re-negotiating outstanding balances to make home ownership attractive. To ignore this is fact is going to result in increased defaults and more short sales and foreclosures. It’s going to happen!

Recently, Moody’s released the following statement on the sale of foreclosed homes: They found that on average, a foreclosed property will be valued about 18 percent lower than average home prices, and will be subject to an additional sales discount of about 15 percent.

The banking industry is creating the depreciation of home values when they are personally responsible for the sale of homes at 30% less than fair market rate resulting in the downturn in value on surrounding homes. Banks are making a bad situation worse. I am shocked that no one seems to address this issue in the media or in Congress.

Who wins? Investors. Who loses? Everyone else – especially the American public.

If this fact is true then why not reduce the principal balance on underwater loans by 30% thereby rewarding homeowners who choose to stay in their homes and pay their mortgages. Does anyone really think that people are going to pay their loans out of a sense of obligation and responsibility? Seriously? I predict a mass exodus as people figure out that they are better off renting and getting out from a debt they can never actually pay off and for which their home will never be worth.

Let’s get serious about solutions to real estate and the housing crisis. Do I think this is going to happen? Hell, no. We have a government that is ineffective and impotent and a banking industry getting rich on investments. The American public continues to struggle with no one reaching out a helping hand. Is there anyone out there who can make a stand for the people?

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I’m a Barbie girl in a Barbie world…

May 27, 2011

Growing up in the 60’s, I was all about Barbie and Ken. I had all the clothes, the cars, the bags – but best of all…the Barbie house. Life was good.

Now Mattel and an Architectural group (http://t.co/SQC7oIa) have combined to start a contest to design a Barbie house for “today’s” Barbie and Ken. What would it include?

If you go by what current buyers are looking at in Central Florida the top five things would be:

  1. Home office
  2. Place for aging parents
  3. Large open kitchen
  4. Smaller yard
  5. One story design

Buyers just don’t seem to be too concerned anymore about giant homes – they want them smaller, more eco-friendly and easier to manage. In other words, I see a world that is going for a simpler life. I wonder if Barbie is on board with that?

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Condominium or House? Which should you choose?

May 19, 2011

With our changing market, I have buyers who are entering the market with cash and looking for some good deals.

Their main criteria are what can I pick up for a GREAT price and which property will start bringing me instant income? Should they buy a house or a condo?

Usually that requires a long and detailed discussion but here’s is an abbreviated comparison.

If buyers want worry-free maintenance and ease of lifestyle then a condo is ideal. You move in and the HOA (through your dues) maintains the property. You never cut a yard; trim a hedge, paint, etc. It’s all taken care of you for a fee. Added to this is the fact that condominium residences (in Orlando) can often be purchased for less than a traditional home.

With a house you have to consider the cost of maintenance and care but you also have privacy. In addition, you don’t have to worry about the strength of the HOA and if the condominium project is strong and viable for the future resale purposes.

I think if I am personally given a choice, for investment/rental purposes a home is always stronger than a condominium. But for retirement/investment purposes – you may want to consider the condominium residence lifestyle.

Either way…it’s good to have options.

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Generational real estate selling and other minsinformation.

April 28, 2011

We live in a time when people want quick answers and quick resolutions to all their questions. How many times a day do you see articles with “Five ways to Happiness” or “Seven steps to selling your home”? Here’s a fact: there aren’t any quick or fast steps to doing anything. It’s just the use of a catch phrase to get your attention. Imagine how great life would be if we could solve things in three easy steps? It just not that simple.

One of the main things I see is that realtors are being misled to believe that their clients are now internet social butterflies and that so much business is done via the web. This is simply not true. While more than 80% may look on the web for a home; the majority of individuals still rely on word-of-mouth or personal relationships to find a realtor to assist them. For instance, a recent fact published by the American Affluence Research Center reflects that only 12.5% of affluent clients even use social media. That’s not very good odds for those seeking to attract the luxury market via the web, through Facebook or other social networking venues.

The other common mistake I see in today’s real estate world is labeling clients. Of course, you know about “boomers” but now we have the newest which is the Millenial generation. The Millenial Generation was born between 1977 and 1998 and has approximately 75 million members. REALTORS are being led to believe that this age group is the next big wave of buyers. Let me assure you – I don’t see this happening. Why? Because I personally have millenials (with college degrees) living under my roof and they can’t find jobs that pay enough to afford a home. Fact: College degrees don’t guarantee a high-paying job thereby making home ownership affordable. I have friends who also have children who graduated college, who are hard-working and driven BUT who are also waiting tables and working part-time at corporations just to get an opportunity for full-time employment. Where do they live? At home with their parents! In addition, many of my friends have not only their grown children living at home but also their parents. These are the people who are helping to support the Millenials. I wish more people would write about that fact.

Millenials and Gen “X” and “Y” are watching the world economy in turmoil and they are scared for their future. I’m not sure they see the value in home ownership and they may just wait it out for a few years and see how the United States government (and lending instituions) respond to our economic crisis.

What is factual? At the end of the day it is still about relationships. Get out from behind your computer and meet people. Stay in touch with friends and former clients. While I personally have a blog, Facebook page and I tweet like a maniac, I do so for fun. I don’t expect business to boom because I do all my social networking. People will buy homes because they need a place to live. But as for me – know any investors or better yet – let’s do lunch?

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One is the loneliest number

December 15, 2010

 

 

It’s that time of year – the time when everyone starts bombarding your email with solicitations for SEVEN ways to get rich, SIX steps for a better year, FOUR ways to get your home sold, THREE things you need to do to guarantee sales success. You get the picture. 

I don’t know who started this trend but the minute I see a number associated with an activity – I just zone out. I find the whole thing a little hokey. You want to be successful? ONE THING – WORK hard. You want more money? Work hard. You want happiness? Work hard. It’s really just that simple. 

We live in a culture that wants quick fixes to all our problems. That is simply not how life works although it would be nice in theory. To make your life successful you don’t need SEVEN secret tips…you just need to put one foot in front of the other toward your goal and make it work. I promise this is true. 

I have one suggestion for you today – decide to be succesful and happy and WORK hard to make it so.

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Real Estate Mind Games

August 21, 2010

 

Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” Conrad Hilton

 

Real estate today is moving and changing in new directions. To be a winner in today’s real estate world, you have to put the past behind you and move toward the future. You have to be an agent that wants to win and then sets out to figure out what it will take to make transactions matter.

It’s all a mind game and you must have a winning mindset. If you don’t – you are doomed to fail.

I am constantly reminded how tough our economic climate is and how bad home prices have fallen. But I am also reminded that we are not the only generation to have financial challenges. Many of our grandparents and parents suffered greatly during the “great depression” and they think we are all being a wee bit dramatic. I know it is tough out there but I also know that opportunities exist to those who don’t give up and keep moving toward a goal.

Will real estate ever be the same? No. But how can we expect it to remain the same? It’s changed for good and I don’t think that is all bad news. It’s just our reality and it is time we deal with it. I heard today that nearly a quarter of Americans think their home is going to fall in value this year and yet I also heard that nearly a quarter of Americans are going to put their homes on the market the first sign of change.

Be the change – start thinking about winning in a hard market. What have we got to lose because our days are full of opportunities! Keep a positive mindset and be prepared to WIN. I believe it for you.