Thursday, June 28, 2012

Flagler County, Florida's Economic Development

When I was a new Real Estate Broker in 1987, my leadership and management styles were extracted from my previous 20 years, as a US  Army Officer.  There, teamwork was essential for survival.  Yes, we competed within our service... and we had our rivalries with the Marines, Navy, and Air Force... BUT, when the heat was on, we were "One for all and all for one."

Imagine my shock, when I approached a fellow who had a particular area of expertise, and asked him to help a rookie in my real estate office to prepare for a listing interview with a property seller...  and he responded, "I've worked hard to learn that area for myself... let her sink or swim on her own."  The sweet follow on to that was the old "What goes around, comes around."  Mr. Selfish Agent made too many enemies and wound up drowning in his own self-aggrandizement... While that rookie ended up being one of the top producers in our company!  I love happy endings...

So, back to the Teamwork theme...  For many Counties (as well as Cities, States, and Global Countries), the 2006-2012 years have been tough to endure.  The bursting of the real estate bubble... as well as many other measurable economic indicator bubbles, has left us palpably shaken.  We here in Florida - and especially Flagler County - have had just about enough.  When you're trying to keep the bank from taking your house... and they've cut your hours at work... and your car needs tires... and gas hits $4.50/gal... and you need a vacation, but can't afford it...  IT'S TIME FOR SOME SERIOUS, NO NONSENSE, TEAMWORK ORIENTED, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT EFFORT, RIGHT HERE AT HOME.  

As a member of the Flagler County Economic Development Advisory Council, I cannot say this enough:  "Site selectors want to know if all the local municipalities and government agencies play nice together!"  If an area gets a rep for being politically contentious... They'll go somewhere else to build or expand their business.  It is  imperative that we pay heed to this.  And a big part of the effort is to learn the "language of team."  Whenever the opportunity arises, our emphasis should be heavy on the "WE" and light on the "ME."  If it's a Palm Coast official, talk up the county and the beaches and the county seat history.  If it's a county official, spread the wealth and praise among all the entities.  Let people know we are in this together... and we all win.

We are so blessed in Flagler County!  We have so much to offer.  Recently, a national Site Selectors's workshop was held at the Hammock Beach Resort.  They loved it here and we got on more radar screens that ever before.  We'll make giant strides if we heed the advice of the famous motivator, Napolean Hill:  "You succeed best and quickest... by helping others to succeed!"

Friday, June 15, 2012

Palm Coast, FL, Real Estate Tidal Shift

Point of Tidal Shift...
"Ebb Tide"
"Real Estate" has been the "happy" and also the "frustrating" for me, these past 25 years.  Just when you get to thinking that you are an expert... and have it all figured out... BAM!  It all changes, yet again!

Recently, I've had many conversations with a variety of property investors.  From wealthy folks who put millions into real estate in the 2000-2006 boom... to Mom & Pop who bought a modest vacation home here in Palm Coast or Flagler Beach, FL, during those same years.  To see the $580,000 (circa 2005) golf course lot, near the ocean, sell for $65,000 in 2011... or the $220,000 retirement home (in 2004) sell in a "short sale" in 2012 for $110,000, really hurts.  Yet, realistically, it sure doesn't hurt the buyer, does it?  Thank goodness, there are buyers who have faith that things will come back to equilibrium.  They have been keeping us afloat.

Not quite here at Equilibrium...
Here's hoping that this is not wishful thinking, yet we seem to be "approaching" that magic place, where things "turn the corner."  We got hammered by the bust here in Florida, yet we read headlines that shout, "Many Major Real Estate Markets Seeing Price Increases!"  Well, not here yet.  We actually saw about a 4% decline in prices again this past quarter.  However, if other markets are trending up, then we will follow.  Good news is that our foreclosure rates are declining and our "distressed sales" fell to less than 50% of total market... (It had been over 60% for a couple of years)

Remember that "Ebb Tide" song, by The Righteous Brothers?

"First the tide rushes in;
Plants a kiss on the shore.
Then rolls out to sea;
And the sea is very still once more.
So I rush to your side;
Like the oncoming tide..."

Well, that's what the market is like... It gets hot and we rush in to buy.  Then it turns the other way and we rush to sell.  Sometimes, however, we get stuck at the ebb...  But it won't be long now.  The tide is changing...

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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