Thursday, August 25, 2011

You CAN Sell Your House in Today's Market!!!

     I'm meeting with a lot of would be sellers of real estate... who are running scared, in light of today's economic climate. (Note:  They are the polar opposite of those sellers who think it's still 2005, but that's another story for another day...)  

     The truth is, however, that as of today, 08/25/2011, we have sold and closed 1,814 houses, condos, lots, and commercial buildings so far this year... in our small Flagler County, FL Realtor MLS/Multiple Listing Service (mostly in Zip Codes 32137, 32164, 32136, 32110) -  One Thousand - Eight Hundred - Fourteen!  That's a lot of closings in an economy that's supposedly in the doldrums!  Now what's really different from 2005 is that 53% of these are distressed sales - those that are corporate or bank owned or short sales.  In that segment, the overriding factor is "price."  Many (if not most) of these are in some form of dis-repair.  It's not a lot of fun to show dirty, overgrown houses with bugs and mold in 98 degree heat with no lights or A/C!  If you're in a bad way and walking away from your home, it's unlikely that you'll cut the grass, paint, or look out for the bank's best interest...

     So let's focus on the 47% "normal" market segment.  You want to leave retirement paradise in Florida to be closer to your daughter and grandchildren in Endicott, NY.  Here's where you really can make a difference.  Although price is more important than ever, "location, location, location" and "condition, condition, condition" are huge players and will separate you from the pack!  Many times, just a few hundred dollars will be enough to get a home "market ready," however, sometimes it can be a more significant need.  And believe me, it's way more than painting and cleaning I'm talking about.  I am amazed that someone would put a $500,000 - $1,000,000 waterfront home on the market... and not detail it!    So often, we hear, "If it's meant to sell, it will sell."  Or, "There's a buyer for every house."  There's more, but you get my meaning.  If you wanted to sell a used car, you'd detail it before a buyer came to look at it, right?  I'll tell someone, "If you'll follow my advice and put $5,000 - $10,000 into market preparation, you'll be way ahead of the game."  And their response is always, "Will we get all our money back?"  

     The answer to that loaded question is, "Maybe."  HOWEVER, if the effort causes your home to sell (at whatever the market will bear), while your competition sits "For Sale" - isn't it worth it?  Here is what I'm saying:  Don't shotgun your effort at market prep... be more like a laser.  Give a lot of thought to a real plan of action.  I mean, if you went the extra mile and put $10,000 of market preparation into a $500,000 house, you just might put real distance between you and the competition...  You may even create a dynamic that could cause it to sell near, at, or over asking price!

And what you need to do, may be quite different than what you might expect!

     Here is the "Three Legged Stool" for your Home Sale success:

  1. Call me and I will come to your home and help you with the prep plan.  I have a dozen or more focused suggestions that will make your home outshine the others.
  2. Listen to price advice that can be backed up with hard data... It's fair to say that the stainless steel nails you used on your garage shelves project are not worth $20,000.  Look in the mirror and practice saying, "I will not say that we "don't want to give our house away"..."
  3. Allow me to prepare a "success oriented" marketing plan for you.  Once you've done steps 1 & 2, we'll want to let the buyers know about it!
(You can reach me in Palm Coast / Flagler Beach, FL at 386-931-1987)

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Economics of Attitude

This is my actual Econ 101
"Equilibrium" chart
from my notes in college:-)
   Well, the DOW took a huge plunge yesterday (8/4/11) and the related article in today's Daytona Beach News Journal screamed:  "Markets Gripped By Fear."

     It then went on to explain how "desperate traders" were trying to find safe havens for their money, as news of economic woes swept through Italy and Spain.
Gold spiked at an all-time high...  Unemployment figures were disheartening...  GDP numbers were less than we hoped for...  More manufacturing jobs went to China and Malaysia.  O! M! G!  "Run, Chicken Licken, the sky is falling!"  Surely, the world is coming to an end!

Economics, I believe, is nothing more than our reaction to a set of circumstances.  It has been said that, "Nothing is, that our thinking does not make it so."  The life expectancy of a trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange can't be very long, because they say that stress can kill you.  Back during the Vietnam War, we Lieutenants used to take sick pride in the legend that:  "A Platoon Leader's life expectancy in combat is only 15 seconds!"  It must be the same sort of thing for traders on a bad market day!

   Now I'm not a preacher, but I sure appreciate what the Bible has to say about everyday life issues.  On the topic of "worry," the evangelist Matthew wrote:

  • "Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?"
  • and  "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
   Terrific advice, I'd say.  But maybe they were blessed 2,000 years ago, by not being overwhelmed by Facebook, Twitter, Text Messages, FOX & MSNBC and constant/instant Cable coverage of the minute details of life?  I wonder if Matthew had his own QR Code? 

NEWS FLASH:  The media makes great sport of whipping breezes into tornadoes.  News reporter: "Do you believe that today's market losses will PLUNGE THE ENTIRE WORLD INTO AN ENDLESS DEPRESSION... AND POSSIBLY WORLD WAR III?... WELL, DO YOU!!!???" 

The modern day evangelist, Yogi Berra, would say, 
  • "Hey, 90% of economics is half mental!"
I say this:  "The measure of an economy is not what happens to it, but rather how we react to what happens!"  Or, as my brother used to say, "S--t Happens.  So what.  Now what?"

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Rent With Option To Buy

Through the past 25 years of my real estate career, the term has come up many times: "Rent With Option To Buy."  Almost always from a prospective tenant customer, who had no idea what it really meant, yet sensed it would be a cool thing to ask about, because it was mentioned around the water cooler at the office.  

In a nutshell, renting with an option is a deal struck between a tenant and the landlord, which could lead to the tenant buying the home in the future.  It can be a great thing for a renter, who is having current difficulty with a divorce, job change, credit score, etc., but has a favorable future.   Usually, a non-refundable deposit is made to secure the deal.  If the tenant does not follow through, the landlord keeps the money.  Also, the deal can be crafted to put a portion of the monthly rent toward the future down payment.

Let's say there is such a deal here in Flagler County, Florida.  We have many rental properties in Palm Coast  zip codes 32137 and 32164... also in Flagler Beach zip code 32136.  If a home has a current market value of $250,000 and rents for $1,500/month, one scenario could look like this:

  • Purchase agreement is entered into for $265,000, to close in two years on 08/04/2013.
  • Tenant/Buyer gives a $15,000, non-refundable deposit to the landlord.
  • Monthly rent is set at $2,000 and $500 of that goes toward the purchase price.  That's $12,000 over the 2 years of the lease.
  • At closing, the $15,000 deposit and The $12,000 accumulated funds, reduce the purchase price of $265,000 to $238,000.
  • If the tenant does not qualify for a mortgage at that time, or does not follow through, those monies are the seller's.  On the other hand, if it goes, the tenant stays in the house and enjoys the benefits of the forced discipline of the process.
There are a host of considerations, such as "where the market goes."  If it screams upward to $300,000, the seller will feel pain... On the other hand, if it falls to $200,000, the buyer will be trying to walk away and cut his losses.  Then there are little things like, "If the rent is late, that month's contribution does not count," etc., etc.  As always, whether you are the buyer or the seller, it may be a great idea to have an attorney review your lease-option contract... before you sign it... so you go in with your eyes wide open!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Flagler County, FL Waterfront Property

Waterfront property in Flagler County, Florida is positioned to SELL!   Many waterfront homes are now selling for less than the lots they are on sold for in 2005!

"Waterfront" here is defined as "directly on a Salt Water Canal, the Intracoastal Waterway, or the Atlantic Ocean."  They are all located in Palm Coast, or Flagler Beach areas in the 32137, 32164, and 32136 zip codes.

They range from a modest 1,276 square foot (under A/C), 3BR/2BA, ranch on a salt water canal (access to the Intracoastal), at $165,000... To a monster 3 story, 6,500 square foot, 4BR/7BA, custom directly on the Atlantic Ocean, at $3, 998,000.  Surely something for every taste and wallet...

If you want to be on the water - it's time!

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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