Archive for the ‘Market Conditions’ Category

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Homes Sales Up in Almost Every Price Range

June 15, 2015

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The National Association of Realtors’ most recent Existing Home Sales Report revealed that home sales were up rather dramatically over last year in five of the six price ranges they measure. Only those homes priced under $100,000 showed a decline (-10.1%). The decline in this price range points to the lower inventory of distressed properties available for sale and speaks to the strength of the market. Every other category showed a minimum increase of at least 9%, with sales in the $250,000- $500,000 range up 21.2%!
Here is the breakdown:

Sales-Up-STMWhat does that mean to you if you are selling?
Houses are definitely selling. If your house has been on the market for any length of time and has not yet sold, perhaps it is time to sit with your agent and see if it is priced appropriately to compete in today’s market.

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The Art of Real Estate (or any type of) Negotiation

March 19, 2013

In my mind, a successful negotiation is not where one side has pulverized the other. You don’t “win” a negotiation; you get the best possible outcome for your clients while doing the least harm. No one should leave a negotiation angry. After all, you never know when you might have to negotiate with the same people again.  When it comes to negotiating on behalf of my clients, I keep the following in mind:

 

Set the stage: I like a location that’s quiet, neutral, pleasant, and away from distractions and confusion.  It’s best if everyone turns off their devices, and refrains from calls or texts during negotiations.

 

Be prepared: I never enter without my homework. I verify any outstanding facts before the negotiation begins. (Later fact-finding can cause a negotiation to bog down!)

 

Present a united front: I represent clients and have been hired to act on their wishes. At times I may not agree with their position, but I never share that with the other side. If I feel a client’s position is less than optimal, I only discuss it with them in private

 

Leave attitudes at the door: It’s very simple… treat everyone in the negotiation with respect, regardless of personal opinions. If anyone disagrees, disagree with the idea, not the person.

 

Watch non-verbal cues and body language: (Sorry, but I can’t reveal all of my secrets here… suffice it to say I take it all in!)

 

Hold something in reserve: I discuss concessions with my clients beforehand and only offer these concessions when we absolutely need to concede something.

 

I don’t harp about points that don’t matter to my clients: Negotiations should never choke over a minor point.  I like to get agreement on major points such as price and terms and put lesser items aside to return to later.

 

Never volunteer too much information: Knowledge is power in a negotiation. Telling the other side any information, however insignificant seeming, could weaken my clients’ position. On the other hand, I learn as much about the other side as I can.

 

If you ever need someone on your side in a real estate negotiation, feel free to contact me directly: 407-925-7721 (Cell or Text) or lindahutchinson@msn.com.

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What are Home Buyers looking for? This is a great read….

January 16, 2013

Buyers: Don’t just list a home – prepare it first

ORLANDO, Fla. – Jan. 16, 2013 – To sell a home or get top dollar, sellers must look at their property through the eyes of a potential buyer. Consider the following five tips:

1. Get rid of clutter and Aunt Mary’s photo.

“Selling your house is about taking your personality out of it and having people going through it envisioning their own life and personality,” says Candice Olson, host of “Candice Tells All” on Canadian television station “W Network.”

It’s hard for buyers to imagine themselves in a home decorated wall-to-wall with photographs of people they do not know, and knick-knacks that hold no special meaning. In preparing a home for sale, all the things that personalize a home to the family within should be stored for the next home – including all the pictures and magnets on the refrigerator.

Olson says even art on the wall should be analyzed because people have different tastes. She recommends retaining any mirrors, however. “Art is very personal, but mirrors aren’t,” she says. “Mirrors are great for adding depth and dimension and visual space and light … it’s non-committal art.”

2. Focus on the kitchen and bathrooms.

Most buyers who fall in love with a kitchen fall in love with the house. However, that doesn’t mean sellers should invest in an expensive upgrade. The best kitchen is one that aligns with buyers’ tastes, and that’s not always one with upscale cabinets and granite countertops. At the least, the expensive of those upgrades may not come back to the owner in a higher selling price. Sellers should also focus on lighting.

Hilary Farr of the Toronto-based “Love It or List It” television show suggests spending upgrade money on refacing kitchen cabinets and counter upgrades, such as replacing the backsplash.

Olson has simple advice for any would-be seller considering a kitchen upgrade: “Is the juice worth the squeeze?”

3. Make your home look like a hotel suite – inviting but neutral.

Floors make a big impression because they’re big, the “first thing that strike you when you walk in the front door,” Farr says.

Bathrooms should look like a just-cleaned hotel room: New soaps, clean towels and perhaps some cut flowers. Beds should be made with neutral blankets or comforters.

Jonathan and Drew Scott, the “Property Brothers” on television, suggest that sellers consider a home stager. Stagers arrange furniture and furnishings or bring in their own to make the house look as appealing as possible to potential buyers.

“Staging is such a crucial part of it,” says Drew. “It’s just as important as any sort of renovation, because if a buyer can’t walk into a space and picture themselves living there, they’re not going to give you top dollar, for one, and they might just turn and walk away.”

4. Price the home based on market value, not your personal opinion

Do you need to recoup the money you spent at the market’s height in 2006? Buyers don’t care. Did you raise three kids in the home? Your fond memories aren’t worth anything to potential buyers.

Sellers have to switch from emotional attachments and see the sale of their home as a business decision. Realtors give unbiased opinions, and some home sellers even have an appraisal done before they list their home.

5. Focus on curb appeal first

If buyers love the outside of a house – their first impression – there’s a greater chance they’ll love the inside. Sellers can upgrade kitchens and bathrooms all they want, but if a buyer chooses not to enter the home because the outside doesn’t dazzle them, but upgrades won’t do any good.

Paint shingles, doors, garages and railings. Plant new shrubbery and trim existing greenery. In summer, mow the grass twice per week.

A new-looking exterior doesn’t have to be expensive to make potential buyers look twice.

Source: Sheryl Ubelacker, The Canadian Press

© 2013 Florida Realtors®

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The Devil is in the Details – Ignoring Negative News

October 11, 2011

I had made a pact with myself that I would not read all the negative real estate news this year and I broke my own agreement. The result – I think too negatively about this business that I love. 

Numbers, declines, foreclosures, and loss of jobs…these are all real and troubling issues in challenging economic times. But to dwell on them creates a mindset of defeat. It can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

I have to remember to think of the bright spot. Homes ARE still selling and people ARE still buying. It may not be as easy as it once was but after 20+ years in the business – you just have to stick one foot in front of the other and hunt down some deals. 

The numbers are mind boggling but there is always hope and always a chance to make a difference in someone’s life with the purchase of real estate. Details be darned – I’m moving full steam ahead.

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Orlando Real Estate Update

September 1, 2011

My Mom always said…if you don’t have something nice to say – don’t say it. So I have been quiet for a while about the condition of the real estate market in Central Florida. I thought I would update you as we enter the final part of 2011.

Things are pretty rough and that is putting it mildly. I know everyone says we should be positive and optimistic and believe me…I am. But the realities are that (a) we have the lowest number of homes available in recent history for sale with so many of them short sales (b) lenders are still making it very difficult to obtain loans and (c) when you do get an offer on a home – appraisers have become the enemy. The low-ball appraisals are causing the cancellation of many contracts.

It’s hard times. In fact, in some areas of Central Florida…I see home prices rolled back to 1980’s price range and can’t believe it. This is the LOWEST price for listed home that I have seen in some time. That says something.

What does this mean to you? If you have CASH and want to buy – there will probably NEVER be a better time to pick up some bargains. Buy now at the LOW point and lease out your properties…it’s a wise move. For those of you who own your home free and clear – HOLD A MORTGAGE. This is a no-brainer. Sell your home with OWNER FINANCING and you will realize a higher return on your property with a 7% mortgage than putting it a volatile stock market. Take a reasonable but good sized down payment and hold the balance on a seven year balloon. You will watch your money and investment grow.

When will things change? No one knows. But I don’t look for things to get better in the immediate future. However, the wise investor or buyer knows that NOW is the time to buy and that’s good news.

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Foreclosures numbers are not good news…

July 18, 2011

 

 

Recent statistics presented by our local #Orlando real estate board as well as national statistics reflect a decrease in foreclosure sales and an increase in “normal” sales.

According to the Orlando Regional REALTOR Association, “The big news for Orlando housing statistics in May was the percentage of “normal” sales. This sale type has risen for four consecutive months and has increased to 37.47% of all transactions”.

I know these figures sounds like a good thing and I hate to sound pessimistic but the reason that these numbers have increased and foreclosures have decreased is simply because of some serious flaws in the system.

First, the courts have a backlog of old foreclosure lawsuits that they have not been able to work through and finalize. I have homeowners who have been in foreclosure for THREE years with no end in sight as to when they will be forced to return their house to the bank. With State budget cuts (in all of the US) there is a shortage of available judicial staff to process the foreclosure case work.

Secondly, with the former robo-signing legal scandal resulting in illegal processing of past foreclosures – there is now a slowdown in foreclosures until everyone figures out how to properly and legally process foreclosure sales. No more speedy foreclosures with the current judicial requirements.

Finally, the government IS trying to help homeowners stay in their homes by short-term modifications. While they don’t typically work – it does slow down the process.

When added up though – this is not a good thing. Slowing down and in effect, stopping the foreclosure market will only drag out the inevitable for YEARS. It’s the proverbial Band-Aid on a gaping wound. Far better that we fix the system, get all foreclosures through the legal process and move on to a better and more prosperous future. Our economy needs to heal but for that to happen – we have to get these foreclosures finalized so that they may be sold to new credit-worthy homeowners.

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Selling New York

May 26, 2011

One of my favorite guilty pleasures is watching the show “Selling New York” because I enjoy having the opportunity to look at the interior of some of the most elegant and unique residences in the world. There is simply no place like New York and I think that many people enjoy dreaming of homeownership especially in the greatest City in the world. Wouldn’t that be grand?

Today I heard a report on the news that people are losing the desire to own a home. I couldn’t disagree more.

In fact, I think people are desperate to own their own home – they just can’t figure out how to do it. We still have an issue with banks willingness to lend to credit-worthy borrowers. We also have the serious challenge of too many foreclosure homes on the market with the resulting investor based cash buyer competing against the average American. It’s not a fair fight.

I know we are going to work our way through this mess because I also know that people still, after the most difficult and challenging time in real estate since the depression, would opt to own their own home whether it’s a pied-a-terre in New York or a cave in the woods…they want a home. I hope to help them find it.

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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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Luxury home sales – oh, my…

May 4, 2011

Somebody once told me to give them “just the facts” and so here you go – the facts:

We had another interesting month in the Central Florida region for luxury homes. I know this blog is titled a luxury real estate blog but honestly, there is precious little to talk about.

According to the Mid-Florida MLS, we currently have 404 luxury homes (over $1 Million in value) active and for sale in the Orlando area. However, in April there were only thirteen (13) homes sold over $1 Million with the vast majority of the sold homes located in the SW area of Orlando also known as Dr. Phillips or Windermere. Winter Park had four sales with Lake Nona having one sale. There is simply not much to brag about with these ugly statistics.

What is selling? Eighty (80%) percent of the homes sold in the month of April were under $200,000. Most were cash meaning that we still have a strong presence of investors in the market. The bulk of sales representing 46% of the homes sold were under $100,000.

Having sold homes for over 20 years, I can honestly say that these figures are indicative of the fact that Central Florida remains in a housing slump, prices have bottomed out but are not appreciating at this time and loans are still hard to obtain. In short, not much change from the past few months. Investors currently control the market.

The facts may not be what we had hoped for but it is a reflection of challenging economic times in the United States. Here’s hoping for a stronger month of May for all of us!

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Real Estate Ruins –

April 21, 2011

 

Real Estate in Ruins

As I was driving through a luxurious Orlando neighborhood recently, I noticed a number of homes that were obviously in foreclosure. The signs were everywhere including the overgrown lawns, the newspapers piled in the driveway and the general look of decay.

It dawned on me that without proper love and care – the earth has a way of reclaiming what it once lost. The house was covered in vines which were starting to smother the home. It was at once appalling and then again, mesmerizing. I guess the old adage “it’s not nice to fool “Mother Nature” really can come true. You can lay down all the bricks and mortar that you need to make a mansion or a modest home but left untended, Mother Nature is going to take it back and do so with a vengeance.

So goes the state of real estate. Real estate in the US is in ruins! No one is tending the real estate market and no banks, politicians or even news anchors seem to be alarmed. Banks have just disclosed that they wrote one-third (1/3) fewer loans the first quarter of this year than in the past. That is an ASTOUNDING fact. While is sounds wonderful to have a 4.45% interest rate, it is meaningless if no bank is giving out loans. It’s catastrophic. Right now we live in a world full of smoke and mirrors. It’s all fake advertising. It’s all for naught.

Banks are getting richer and bank CEO’s are reaping huge profits but not on real estate. Our country must stand up for a call to action for loans to be written to credit-worthy customers. We are in the weeds and we are going to be in a hole so deep it will take decade(s) to recovery.

As real estate goes – so goes the economy. As an example, I had a client with a two-year old foreclosure BUT $100,000 down payment on a $200,000 house and I could NOT get him a loan. Why? Because the lenders said his foreclosure had to be past three years. 50% down is almost unheard of and yet we could not get this buyer a loan.

PLEASE, please won’t someone get serious about the condition of our economy and realize that without loans and without buyers – we have no real estate? The effect is deep and sinks to the core of all business. No real estate builders, no real estate materials (bricks, shingles, asphalt, etc.), no handymen, no appliances, no furniture…I could go on and on. The lack of sales is affecting everyone and it is affecting you whether you understand this or not.

Let’s get back to business. Let’s sell some homes. Won’t someone make a stand?