Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"QR Codes - Smartphone Nirvana"

“QR Codes”

QR Code for
 Have You Seen One of These?

This is a “Quick Response” (QR) code. You’re going to be seeing more of these on this Blog, our Facebook Fan Page (Parkside Realty Group, LLC, in Palm Coast and Flagler Beach, FL), Business cards, and our other printed and media marketing materials. You will find they are also now being used in magazines, newspapers and even billboards. In Japan (where they started), they appear on T-shirts and untold other applications… To the tune of over 50,000,000 hits/year - and growing!  Quickly!

So what does a “QR code” do?

It’s a cousin of the classic bar code you see on consumer goods when you shop. But this code contains a URL (website link). Basically, it’s a hyperlink on paper – one that your “smart phone” can read & launch. What this means to you is that our Blog and coming website MLS Home Listings will be easier than ever to access on your smart phone!  For example, if we run a print ad - say in Homes & Land - we can include our targeted QR Code so those with smart phones can do a quick scan and obtain detailed information on the home you have listed with us in Palm Coast or Flagler Beach, Florida!

How do I read a QR code?

You’ll need an “app” for your smart phone to read these little nuggets. Just do a search for “QR readers.” Many are free. Here are a few suggested searches to get you started:

• iPhone QR reader app search
• BlackBerry QR reader app search
• Droid QR reader app search
• iTunes
• BlackBerry App World
• Android Market

Once you install the app, launch it to take a picture of the QR code with your smart phone camera. The app goes to work and reads that image to translate it into a URL. Your smart phone’s browser launches, and the information you want is now on your screen!

3 Reasons You Will Fall in Love with QR Codes:

1. Easily get the information you want. QR codes are designed to take you instantly to the information you need. All it takes is a tap or two on your smart phone. No fumbling with a small keyboard typing in a web address.

2. Surf more... faster. QR codes simplify your smart phone browsing experience so you can instantly get the information you want, and get on with your day.

3. You’ll be one of the “cool” kids. Let’s face it – it’s fun to be on the cutting edge of technology. You’ve got a smart phone…why not use it to simplify your life and have some fun?  Who knows, you might even show your high school student something

Have a QR Code Question Not Answered Here?

QR Code for:  Facebook Fan Page
for Parkside Realty Group, LLC
For a much more in-depth explanation of QR codes that will satisfy your inner-Geek, just go to:  Or, you can ask me and we’ll be happy to answer them for you (or find the answer).  For your homework, download your new QR Code app to your smartphone and click this code. It should take you straight to our office Facebook Fan Page!  Stay tuned! Much more to come, as I’m just getting started! Take care! (Frank Zedar, Parkside Realty Group, LLC, Cell: 386-931-1987)
(Thanks in order to Michael Russer (aka: Mr. Freakin' Internet) and his Online Dominance webinar on this

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"EXPIRED" Real Estate Listing?

Don't Be Sad - We Can Help!
 If your Real Estate Listing on the MLS has "EXPIRED" from the market, you are probably ready to pull your hair out!

 What the heck is going on?  Why would my house in a great town in Florida - near the beach - not sell after a full year on the market?

Most real estate agents are a bit wary of contacting recently EXPIRED homeowners. Why?  I mean you've done half of our work for us by standing out in a crowd and shouting:  
I think that most of us suffer a bit from remembering better markets - when houses sold quickly for the asking price (or more)... And no matter what you bought or sold - it was a "smart business decision."  We were drunk with success.  We here in Palm Coast and Flagler Beach, Florida were in "The Fastest Growing County in the USA" from 2003-2005!  Our values were skyrocketing and, if unchecked, our median price would have topped $1,000,000 by 2012!  And then the house of cards in the US housing market came crashing down.  We are working hard to correct things, but it was a huge bubble that burst!  We have some serious orienteering to do before we are out of these woods!
Down?  Yes!  Dead?  No!
... So most Realtors don't call you because they sense you are "angry with the real estate process" and probably not liking real estate agents very much right now!  It's a Mindset Thing...   If an agent - at their core - doesn't believe that you need them or want them, then you probably don't!

If you are now EXPIRED - and you'd rather be SOLD:
  • Interview and hire a highly motivated, well trained, experienced, aggressive real estate agent.
  • One who can take charge, who understands the business and who will tell you the truth about the market (not just what they think you want to hear)
  • Someone who knows how to take an ordinary thing and do it in an extraordinary way...
  • One who can deliver the "real estate holy grail," when you ask:

    • Can I trust you?  (with the keys to my house and input to critical financial decisions)
    • Do you actually care about my personal outcome?  Do you operate with empathy and compassion and Golden Rule behavior?
    • Are you competent... Can you get the job done?
Call me today... 30 minutes at your kitchen table could make all the difference!
Frank Zedar
Parkside Realty Group, LLC
Cell:  386-931-1987

There is Still Time...

Monday, September 27, 2010

"For Sale By Owner" Outreach...

Realtor Drive By Shooting!

Sounds Like a Country Song!
 If you are brave enough to be attempting to sell your home on your own...
in the roughest, toughest real estate market since the end of WWII...
you probably did it before and tasted success.

What I would give right now for a taste of the wild rides of 1985-1990... or 2000-2006!  Heck, I'd settle for the balanced and calm years of 1993-1999.  But this?  Who saw this coming?  (Oh, right - all the politicians with 20-20 hindsight).  I mean come on, man!  We here in Palm Coast and Flagler Beach enjoyed being "The Fastest Growing County in the USA" for most of 2003, 2004, and 2005!

Age Has Its Privileges!

FACT:  If we had continued that rate of escalation in value (about 25% per year), our median priced home would have jumped from about $230K to over $1,000,000 by 2012!  And that for a standard 2,000 sq.ft., 3/2/2 on a normal lot.  That great ocean front home in The Hammock or on Flagler Beach, which was $2,000,000 in 2005 would have teetered near a staggering $10,000,000.  We would have been a mirror image of Southern California, except with no jobs of that caliber.  Absolutely unsustainable!  It's almost good news that it happened when it did... because it could have become far worse.

Most real estate agents are a bit wary of "FSBO's."  You know why?  I'm guessing that you are seen as being "too savvy" or perhaps "too unmotivated."  Also probably "anti-real estate agent" and, of course, "anti-commission."  It's a mindset thing.  If an agent, at their core, doesn't believe you need them, then you probably don't!

If You Are In Trouble,
Don't Let Foreclosure Happen!
I Can Help.

My belief is this: 
  • Truly motivated sellers want a highly motivated, aggressive, experienced, well trained, real estate expert to help in these challenging times.  One who can take charge of the situation, who understands the business, and who will tell them the truth about the market... not just what you want to hear!
  • They want someone who can take an ordinary thing and do it in an extraordinary way.
  • They want the real estate holy grail:
    • Can my agent be trusted (with the keys to my house and input to my financial decisions)
    • Does my agent really care about my personal outcome?  Are they empathetic and compassionate and ethically centered?
    • And finally... Are they competent... Can they get the job done?

Don't Let This Happen To You.
The Market "is what it is."
Make the Most of It!

I believe that a "For Sale By Owner" sign is a call to action...  a request to "Apply Within!"

Friday, September 24, 2010

"Code of Ethics for Realtors"

Ethics: A Standard Higher Than The Law

Talk about a hot topic!  What does it mean?  And by whose definition?  And by what moral code?

Politicians Sure Take a Hit!

Personally, I see evidence that we are in a "crisis of ethics" (or, rather, lack thereof).  We are, as a nation, in a moral drift away from what made us great.  But hey, just because our prison population has increased from 250,000 to over 2,300,000 in a little over 20 years?  Yes, I know there's a lot more to it! 

I get to teach this topic to the Flagler County, Florida, Association of Realtors.  It's humbling, to say the least.  Especially knowing how many times I've erred personally.  I recount to the class a glaring ethical error I made, as a new sales agent in 1986.  It seemed to make "good business sense" to me at the time.  Yet, I must have dozed off during that session of my "new agent training!"

I was born the day WWII ended.  You could say I'm the first Baby Boomer.  My parent's generation defined us then as "hard working, patriotic, and morally centered (with the one glaring disgrace of racial ignorance)."  Then my generation, starting about 1968, fueled the national push towards, "If it feels good, do it!"  This, as an aside, was Sigmund Freud's take on ethics and morality.  How could a guy so smart... be so dumb?

Ethics Continuing Education

As Realtors, we are challenged to behave ethically today in a very tumultuous arena.  The bubble has burst.  Our homes are worth less than half of their 2005/2006 value.  Our neighbors and friends are being foreclosed upon.  People are hurting.  And surely you recall the saying that, "Desperate times require desperate measures!"

Our Realtor Code of Ethics Manual acquiesces that:
  • There is no idea which cannot be misapplied.
  • No faith which cannot be exploited.
  • No concept which cannot be abused.
  • And no principle which cannot be perverted.
Well, I guess that about covers our human nature tendencies!  In our defense, our manual states:  "In the interpretation of this (ethical) obligation, Realtors can take no safer guide than that which has been handed down through the centuries, embodied in The Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Can I get an "Amen?"

Monday, September 20, 2010

Big Bank Curiosity

Before I start, I think it's ok - and healthy - for banks to make a profit.  I mean they are, after all, the clearing houses for $Money$, the lubricant of our global economy.  I'm a politically conservative, business oriented, limited government, free market advocate... and as such, I like to see people working and making money, feeding their families, taking vacations... and keeping their homes!

I'm also in complete understanding of our frail human nature, where pride and greed are at our core... and where qualities such as humility are often thought of as "quaint."  It's all about corporate culture and in circles where enormously obscene profits are for the picking, smoky back rooms are heard to say, "Do them, before they do you!"  I can't wait to see the new film, "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," with Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, and Josh Brolin.  Talk about great timing for a film release!  It plays on the bursting of the housing bubble and our current economic turmoil like a concert violin.  And from a recent critique:  "In Money Never Sleeps, greed is a constant high, with everyone chasing the dragon."

So, help me with this.  A family buys a house in 2004 for $350,000.  They can afford it, as both Mom and Dad have secure jobs and money in the bank.  They even put a 20%, $70,000 down payment in the deal and secure a $280,000 mortgage.  Almost everything in their monthly payment is interest and escrows for taxes and insurance.  By 2009, their balance is $270,000.  She loses her $48,000 job at the accounting firm and eventually gets one at Target for minimum wage.  He is devastated when he is let go from his marketing position, where he had been earning $75,000 per year.  By early 2010, they had missed 5 mortgage payments and were in a panic.  They had always paid their bills on time and had great credit!  The foreclosure notices started coming and the credit card companies called non-stop.  All unfamiliar territory for this family.
To save them from foreclosure, their Real Estate Agent, and experienced CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert) at Parkside Realty Group, LLC in Palm Coast, FL, helps them in a complicated "Short Sale" transaction.  Their home sells, after several months of negotiation with their bank, at the 2010 "new market value" of $175,000.  That's $95,000 shy of the mortgage balance... and 50% less than they paid for the house in 2004.  They walk away with nothing, except the knowledge that their Real Estate Agent helped them dodge the foreclosure bullet.

Question:  If it cost the bank about $40,000 in admin and carrying costs and professional legal and Realtor fees to do this deal... Why not evaluate the situation and do the same deal for the current owner?  You know - keep this family in the house and the kids in the same school, etc.  Their new payment would be where they could now afford it (similar to the rent they'd have to pay down the street to the guy who is also upside down on that house).
If it saves the bank $40,000 in the reality of the current situation, am I being naive to think this is a better solution?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Flagler County, FL Condos

Canopy Walk ICW View

Riverview at Grand Haven

Hammock Beach Club

It's no secret that we are in a challenging real estate market.  The papers say for "the past two years."  But ask any seasoned broker or agent in Flagler County, FL and you will get a different answer.  It was the 4th Quarter of 2005 and "something" was happening... The market had been on fire - ridiculously so - for at least five years.  We were on track to be like Southern California, with $1,000,000 median prices!  But there was this ominous... palpable feeling that it was all about to unravel.  And it did.

It's fair to say that in the five years hence, our median prices have fallen at least 50% for most properties in Palm Coast, Flagler Beach, The Hammock, Bunnell, and all of Flagler County, Florida.  It is all too clear, remembering the Gala Grand Openings with fist-sized jumbo shrimp, champagne, helicopter rides, lottery drawings, waiting lists and people falling over each other to write huge deposit checks.  We were all such smart "investors!"

And Condos have fallen the hardest.  Recall the openings of:  Grand Haven's Riverview and River Club, Ginn's Hammock Beach and Yacht Harbor, The Palm Coast Resort, all of the new Hammock Dunes offerings, the Surf Club, European Village, Canopy Walk, Cinnamon Beach, Tidelands.  $500,000, $750,000, $1,000,000, $2,000,000, $3,000,000!  It was nuts, but it was such fun!  Until it ended.  It's no fun to be the guy who anted up $775,000 for his water view pad, only to see the unit next door sell as a $295,000 short sale or foreclosure!

Here's the rub with condos.  When the economy goes nuclear, so do condos.  If the guy next door hits hard times and loses his house, it's a shame, but doesn't directly affect you.  But if the condo unit in your building goes down... there's one less contribution per month to the general fund... then the cash reserves go... then the grass gets cut twice a month instead of once a week... then the pool gets a little dirty... then they try an assessment on the good folks who are faithfully paying their condo fees... then the association goes on the mortgage bankers "high risk" list and potential buyers can't get a loan...  You see where I'm going here.

Now the good news...  There are lots of motivated sellers and condo prices are getting closer to where they need to be to start clearing the inventory.  There are deals to be had.  Sure, some sellers are still "mad as hell and they aren't gonna' take it any more... and they aren't gonna' give this place away."  They are the ones who skipped Economics 101 the day they covered "The Law of Supply and Demand."  However, there are plenty who understand the realities of the current (and foreseeable future) market dynamics. 

A seasoned, local Real Estate Agent has this one very critical job to do today: 
Put Sellers who want to sell... and Buyers who want to buy... together.  Then help them remove the emotion and negotiate a deal that offends neither... and satisfies both!    If this fits your situation, my background and skills could be what you are looking for.  I'm at Parkside Realty Group, LLC and would welcome an opportunity to meet you.  Cell:  386-931-1987.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Don't Buy Fear Mongering Real Estate Headlines Coming

There are going to be some rough and tough headlines written about the housing market over the next several months. They may create apprehension and in some cases outright fear. The good news is these headlines will not reflect what is actually taking place in real estate. Some in the industry say we should merely ignore this media blitz of misleading  stories. That would be similar to trying to ignore a growling creature lurking in the shadows in the corner of the room. Instead, I want to shine a bright light into that corner to honestly evaluate how dangerous the creature actually is.

Also, and I can't emphasize this enough, "ALL REAL ESTATE IS LOCAL."  What is true in Chicago may be quite different from the suburbs in Fairfax, VA, outside Washington, DC.  And ridiculously different from Breckenridge, CO... or Palm Coast, Florida.  Even different neighborhoods in the same zip code can exhibit wide variances.  Losing sight of this... or ignoring advice from a seasoned, local Real Estate Professional... can lend itself to bad decisions.

PROBABLE HEADLINE: "Sales Plummeting!  Housing Market Crashing!"

THE FACTS: The National Association of Realtors’ "Pending Sales Report" is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as "pending" when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not yet closed.

The pending sales reports covering September, October and November will be UGLY! The reason is that the houses going into contract in those months this year will be compared to the same months last year. In 2009, sales were skyrocketing as we headed toward the original termination of the Homebuyers’ Tax Credit on November 30. It will appear as though this year’s sales fell off a cliff in comparison. The headlines will be brutal.

Actually, the tax credit just pulled sales forward... (Don't get me started on this level of government intervention into the free market system)...  Last fall and winter, pending sales dropped dramatically after November 30. Over the next six months, approximately the same number of homes will go into contract as did last year during this period. They will just be spread more evenly over the six months.

The National Association of Realtors' "Existing Home Sales Report" is based on actual home closings. The extended tax credit expired on April 30 this year. Like last year, the tax credit pulled demand forward, this time from the summer months. That left a vacuum of homes going into contract during this past summer. That vacuum will create a lack of closed sales throughout the next few months.

Actual sales will be approximately the same as last year. However, because the tax credit moved sales into different time periods, both the pending sales reports and the existing sales reports will appear very weak over the next few months.

The Bottom Line?

The headlines will be reporting ‘doom & gloom’. In reality, the market will be no worse than last year. There will be no reason to fear the creature in the corner. It will be a figment of a misinformed media’s imagination... Hey, gotta sell papers, right? 
The truth is that the market is not great for sellers (although you sure can make up the loss (or diminished gain) on your sale with the gain on your new purchase!)  but it is very fine indeed for buyers! 
(Credit to:  "The KCM Crew" 9/14/10)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Palm Coast, FL Real Estate Update

Markets Go Down... and Markets Go Up
As of last week, the US real estate inventory could all be sold in about 12 and a half months (if nothing else was listed)...  Going on the premise that "all real estate is local," Palm Coast, FL is beating the national stats!  Our inventory of "single family detached homes" would be gone in about 10 months.  That's an "absorption rate" of 10% per month.

There is, however, a "however."  And the however comes with both a downside and an upside!  The downer is that 58% of the 106 closings have been "distressed" sales.  That is 32% "short sales" and 26% "bank owned/foreclosures."  That's a lot of distressed sales!  In better economic times, these so-called distressed sales were dismissed as rare oddities... and excluded from appraiser's and Realtor's "comparable" reports.  Today, in a mind boggling flip-flop, they ARE the market!  This reality is a huge factor in determining a price for your home.  Hint:  They can't be ignored or dismissed.  They are your competition!

Now, here's the upside of this.  In light of the 58% distressed closings... only 41% of the listing inventory is in this category.  That means that they are selling faster than they come on the market... the "bottom" is clearing itself.  Another "however" looms in our future.  Our good friends, the banks, are sitting on a rather large "shadow inventory."  Empty homes that they don't want to reveal as accounting liabilities to stock holders.  So they sit, unoccupied... with the AC off in the Florida humidity... waiting to be trickled on the market.  (Can you spell "mold and mildew?")  As such, we won't be free of these albatross properties for some time.

Flagler Beach, FL is a bit different.  Prices rose in the boom years even more dramatically than in Palm Coast.  You know what that means... a harder fall!  Currently, there is a 19 month supply, with an absorption rate of only 5%.  As such, local Realtors and sellers are feeling the pinch of appraisals coming in lower than they would like.  That is, of course, unless you are on the buyer's side of the equation!

(These statistics are derived from the Flagler County Association of Realtors and the Navica MLS system, based on activity from 8/10/10 to 9/10/10.  Numbers from the previous 90 day period fall +/- 10% for comparison)

Friday, September 3, 2010

New Real Estate Company in Palm Coast

August/September, 2010 -   

An exciting new real estate firm has recently launched in Flagler County, Florida...  Parkside Realty Group, LLC, has opened its doors and is ready to serve the real estate needs of Palm Coast, Flagler Beach, and all of Flagler County.  This dynamic team of five agents and brokers comprise an astonishing combined experience base of over 80 years!

New Broker/Owner, Sam Perkovich, has been a perennial top producer in town for the past dozen years.  Her dedication and leadership within the Arts community in Flagler County has led to high visibility and a unique service orientation.  Sam's vision for Parkside includes an intense focus on the local market and a passion for the personal touch.  Parkside's view is that often, when a firm becomes "too big," they lose sight of their purpose.  National or international "Headquarters" calls the shots... and forgets that "all real estate is local."  Sam says, "We won't lose that local intensity here at Parkside.  It is precisely why we are in business.  We won't be reporting to Denver or Los Angeles or  Parsippany, because our allegiance is to Flagler County, Florida.  Period."

Realtor and Office Manager, Carol Monachese, brings in-depth administrative, managerial, and sales expertise to the Parkside mix.  Formerly a resident of South Florida, Carol enjoyed a successful real estate career in Westin, FL, prior to relocating to Palm Coast.

Frank Zedar, Associate Broker, has assisted families and investors with their real estate needs for 25 years in Florida, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.  Although not an attorney, Frank received his certification as a Real Estate Negotiator and Mediator from Harvard Law School in 2003.  His skills and mind-set allow him to be comfortable and capable in the luxury market and also lead him to assist families facing foreclosure, in finding their best options. 
Frank's Real Estate experiences have seen him as a top sales agent, as well as the sales manager of many high volume real estate offices.  His affiliations have included Mount Vernon Realty, Century 21, GMAC, and RE/MAX. 
After Viet Nam, Frank received his BS in Industrial Management at the University of Tampa (Go, Spartans!) and his MBA at Georgia Tech (Go, Yellow Jackets!).  His real estate designations include the GRI, CRS, CDPE and CLHMS. 
As a certified national real estate trainer, he has also been on the adjunct business and economics faculty at both the University of Maryland (Heidelberg Germany campus) and George Mason University, in Fairfax, Virginia.  He has served as the Chairman of the Flagler County Association of Realtors Grievance Committee and currently is the Secretary of the FCAR Board of Directors.
Frank's twenty years as a US Army Officer have taught him that hard work and attention to the details are keys to a successful real estate career.

Maritssa Vazquez Zedar, Sales Associate, has been a sales top producer and came into real estate by way of the Title industry.  Having owned her own successful businesses in the past, she understands the challenges of today's complex economic environment.  Maritssa is fluent in Spanish and works comfortably within the international community.
Maritssa and her husband Frank have been real estate partners since 2004.  "We each do our own business," says Maritssa, "however it's great that we can always be there to cover each other's back."
First time buyers, who need a calming influence, really appreciate what Maritssa brings to the table.  On the other hand, when aggressive action is needed in a high stakes transaction, her reputation as a focused negotiator is most welcome!

Margaret Sheehan-Jones heads up the Commercial Division at Parkside Realty Group, LLC.  A former CPA and business owner, she brings a wealth of investment experience to the firm.  A long-time Flagler County resident, Margaret has seen - and been an integral part of - this area's growth.  Setting herself apart, she has followed an extremely rigorous path to become a CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member).  Currently a fully qualified CCIM candidate, awaiting certification, Margaret will soon join the top 6% within the commercial real estate field with this achievement.

The team at Parkside Realty Group, LLC is ready to serve you and your residential and commercial real estate needs here in Palm Coast, Flagler Beach, and Flagler County, Florida.  Come have a cup of Starbucks or Teavana with us at our new office at 210 Old Kings Road South, Suite 500, Flagler Beach, FL 32136.  We are just south of Rt. 100 (Moody Blvd.), across from Old Kings Elementary school.  We share our business plaza with EQ Financial, Seagate Homes, and Alure European Day Spa.  See you soon!

Why read "Palm Coast Unplugged?"

"Palm Coast Unplugged" gives a "backstage pass" to locally focused Palm Coast, Flagler Beach, and Ormond Beach, Florida... Real Estate and other useful information:
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