Archive for the ‘Orlando real estate news’ Category

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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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Holy cow – there are no homes to sell…

January 30, 2013

house sideways

Things have gotten a wee bit strange in real estate recently. There are simply too few homes for sale. I have buyers…lots of buyers actually but there is an absolutely nothing to show them. If you want a home in the $200,000 to $350,000 price range in a good area of Orlando then you had better be prepared to look a long time and jump on something the minute it becomes available. I’m seeing multiple offers on homes listed and anxious agents who want contracts signed before it is too late. There is definitely a sense of urgency in the Orlando real estate marketplace.

What does this mean? The economy is affecting homes listed for sale as potential sellers fear they won’t obtain fair market value for their home. The majority of homes for sale in Orlando remain short sales or foreclosures. We need to see the inventory of distress sales dwindle and more normal market conditions return.

What is normal? Who knows? But this certainly isn’t it.

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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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Safety First – why your agent should use an Electronic Lockbox

June 22, 2011

I recently had the pleasure of taking an out of state buyer to look at properties in Central Florida. I was ALARMED (sorry for the pun) at the number of homes without electronic lockboxes.

The alternative that is used is often a “locker-style” lockbox where the agent enters an alphanumeric code such as A-B-C  to open the box and obtain a homeowner’s house key. The problem with that system is that any prospective and attentive buyer can watch you use the code and gain access to your home in the future. While I don’t think break-ins are increasing – it is still a security risk. These lockboxes are cheaper but not safer for the homeowner.

I highly recommend the electronic lockbox (no cost to the seller – just to the agent) because they LOCK at night and no one can gain access to your house unless they use a Board of REALTOR’s issued lockbox key which records via an electronic keypad the showing agent who is going in and out of your home. All this information is downloaded daily to the listing agent via the internet. These lockboxes are safe and effective.

In my business the customer comes first and the customer’s safety is of the utmost importance to me. Be smart.

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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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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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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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To wear or not to wear…that is the question.

May 2, 2011

I have been pondering this question for some time now. What is proper business attire for today’s real estate agent?

I remember when my Mother never left home without a pair of gloves and a hat. I remember when people would dress up to get on a plane. I also remember when people would wear their Sunday best to see their physician. My how times have changed!

At my Open House this past Sunday, I wore linen slacks, a Ralph Lauren top and my trademark hat. I was also hot as the dickens (it’s almost 90 degrees in sunny Florida) and way overdressed compared to my open house guests. I might add that I was showing a home that sells for over a million dollars. But to me, listing price is irrelevant. If you are creating an image – make it a good one.

As for me, I have given up the business suits. Too many clients complained that I made them feel badly when I dressed up to show homes. I still maintain some decorum and a degree of professionalism but no flip flops for me – I don’t even own a pair.

But I do wonder where we are going with dress codes. I do wonder what other agents (and clients) think about proper business attire. I see a lot of crazy stuff going down out there and I wonder if it hurts our reputation to look so unprofessional…but then again, what IS unprofessional?

As for me, I cannot wear shorts and I can’t go out in sandals when preparing for business meetings. My sweet grandmother who used to mow her own yard in knee highs and pearls would just flip if she saw me dressed like that. I honor her by dressing like a lady – even if I feel a tad overdressed. Your thoughts?

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It’s May Day! What’s that mean for real estate?

May 1, 2011

When I was a wee girl, our elementary school celebrated the 1st of May with a May Day celebration that included dancing around a “May pole” (which was actually our school flag pole) that had been covered in pastel ribbons. Wearing flowers in our hair, the young girls would select a ribbon and skip around and sing some cheerful song after which we would partake in games and food (one of the best parts would have been the skipping and FOOD). The significance here was to celebrate what many considered to be the arrival of spring and the birth of flowers and new life.

Skip forward and May Day is almost forgotten in the United States although still celebrated in other parts of the world. Many celebrate this day with military parades. Other counties use May 1st as a day of recognition for the people who labor in chosen professions. I don’t care for the military references to May Day – I prefer the joyful expression of the day.

As for me – I still celebrate May Day in my heart. In real estate, it is good to have a reminder that every day is May Day and a chance to celebrate. We have a career and a job that is glorious and while these are challenging times with the pangs of new economic realities – the fact remains that people still need to live somewhere and I want to help them. I’m skipping for joy. Won’t you join me?

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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?