Archives October, 2007


Twelve Reasons Why NOW is the Time to Buy In Sarasota:

John Schaub, a nationally known real estate expert, investor and nationally-published author, is also a favorite son of Southwest Florida and a dear friend of mine. Yesterday, John was one of the keynote speakers at a company-wide meeting held at Fred’s Restaurant & Ballroom in Lakewood Ranch. In addition to announcing a number of new marketing and technology initiatives, we invited John to be one of the keynote speakers. Needless-to-say, John is a fabulous speaker and lecturer and held a rapt audience of more than 400 of our sales associates and staff members in the palm of his hands.

One of the most memorable passages from John’s presentation was the “Twelve Reasons Why Now is a Good Time To Buy In Sarasota.” I thought it would be great to remind everyone why Southwest Florida is such a great place to live and why it will always be an excellent place to purchase real estate, especially now.

Here, in true David Letterman reverse-order fashion, are the 12 reasons:

Twelve Reasons Why NOW is a Good Time to Buy in Sarasota:

12. Anyone who has to sell will make a buyer a deal today.

11. The fundamentals have not changed. The Boomers will retire, and many will move to warmer climates. There is a 100% chance of snow in Chicago, Cleveland, and Boston this winter.

10. You can still finance a home with a 30 year 6.5 % loan.

9. Lenders will make deals – ask them for discounts.

8. Over-priced sellers are lonely – make them an offer.

7. Good land is becoming scarcer and will get more and more dear.

6. The next land developed will be more expensive. Much of it is already improved

5. The British are coming! We are getting great press overseas! The combination of a weak dollar and a weak market gives them a once in a lifetime opportunity to buy a bargain.

4. Tax and Insurance rates have peaked and will stabilize and possibly drop.

3. Rents will increase as the supply of existing rentals dwindles and few new units come on line.

2. Speculators are bailing out and will sell at a loss.

1. There are good reasons why Sarasota is expensive:

·It is one of the best places in the world to live if you can afford it and people who can afford it ARE coming.

·It is still inexpensive compared to other areas with similar attributes and unique appeal.

·Great natural beauty.

·Highly talented and educated population.

·Dozens of fabulous restaurants.

·Lots to do: sports, theater, arts, educational opportunities.

·Plus a challenging and invigorating non-profit world which involves tens of thousands in gratifying good works.

·It’s a safe and clean place to live.

·World-class health care.

·Anyone looking for a cheaper place to live has a lot of choices. Anyone looking for a better place to live has few, if any, choices.

·This is the last chance to buy at today’s great prices, before the rest of the world snaps up our bargains.



Timing Is Everything: Tips For Tapping Into A Buyers’ Market

That much of the nation is in the midst of a tenacious real estate correction is hardly headline news anymore. Investors have beaten a hasty retreat, leaving behind inventories of unsold homes that presently outpace the number of buyers in many markets. What should be headline news, however, is how the wisest of sellers have reduced their profit expectations and happily entertain all offers reflective of the corrected values of their homes. Yet, just because these market forces—combined with low interest rates—add up to an extremely good time to buy, doesn’t necessarily make purchasing a home a piece of cake. But there are ways to make it one.

Last week we shared some tips to help sellers prosper in this year’s challenging market. This week, here are five tips to help buyers tap into the best prices in many years:

Get pre-approved for a mortgage. It’s a different sort of buyers’ market if you need to finance your purchase. Credit markets have tightened considerably, with half the products offered only a year ago no longer available today. Lenders have retreated to safer standards of underwriting that protect borrowers from overextending themselves. If you can’t afford a particular home using solid mainstream financing, you should continue looking.

Let your fingers do the walking. With so many homes to see, attempting to visit each one is counterproductive. Wasted time creates missed opportunities. At, you can browse the region’s five multiple listing services, including Sarasota, Manatee, Venice, Englewood and Punta Gorda-Port Charlotte-North Port. Once you’ve narrowed your search, contact an experienced sales associate to help you judge the best values in your price range. Their insights, along with the analytical tools they bring to the table, will help you discard the overpriced lemons in your target neighborhoods. In Southwest Florida, you have your pick of real estate agents and the companies they represent. You should make your choice based on overall knowledge of the market, length of experience and how frequently their companies have worked through tough markets.

Beware of strangers bearing gifts. You aren’t shopping for a new car lease or a sexy new flat-screen TV, so don’t let merchandise incentives cloud your vision. If a seller is offering an incentive to buy, make sure it has something to do with the house, like a credit toward a desirable upgrade or a further reduction in price.

When you find the right house at the right price, buy it! If recent sales in the neighborhood support its asking price, go for it. Presumably, you are hunting for more than just a good price; you’re also looking for that one special house that completely suits your lifestyle. Holding back in hopes that prices will go lower is a flawed strategy. You can never know this until prices are heading up again. Meanwhile, someone else may buy the home, especially if it is priced correctly.

Make intelligent offers that enable you to negotiate with skill. Right now there is plenty of room to negotiate, provided you aren’t making uninformed offers that sellers don’t take seriously. You are in a much stronger position when you can show that recent sales in the neighborhood justify your offer. This provides a much firmer foundation from which to begin negotiations and takes you a giant step closer to enjoying your new home.


Selling Your Home: A Game Plan For Success

With fall in the air, football on many minds and baseball’s World Series just around the corner, now is a good time to remind everyone that readying a home to sell in today’s market is akin to prepping for the big game. You are in a hotly competitive match-up where the best game plan will carry the day. Here are a few tips that can lead to victory when selling against other homes in your league:

Pricing your home with absolute correctness should be the biggest component of your game plan. Your goal is to seal a deal quickly while the home is still new to the market and attracting inquiries from serious buyers scouring for fresh properties. If you cling to fond memories of what your neighbor’s home sold for two years ago, you’ll end up asking too much and buyers will move on to the next home, filing yours away with the rest of the overpriced inventory. A home priced at just below market value will definitely pique the interest of real estate professionals and their buyers. However, if you ask too little—in hopes of selling that much faster—buyers may suspect a problem home with potential defects that could cost them dearly down the road. Either way, the longer a home lingers on the market the better chance it has of becoming stigmatized. For this reason it is never a good idea to test the market with a high price believing you can always lower it down the road. Remember, the first 30 days are the most critical.

Our advice is to get an up-to-date appraisal and ask your sales associate for a current CMA—Competitive Marketing Analysis. These will help you establish a price that is at once accurate, fair and competitive.

Do everything in your power to make your home a better buy, without necessarily lowering the price much below market comparables. Many sellers are not offering “buy down” incentives on mortgages, or credits toward closing costs. Which is exactly why you should! By paying the discount points, you get your price, the buyer ends up with lower monthly payments and you move happily on. Plus, paying down the points and/or closing costs are considered selling expenses, which can be deducted from the capital gains reported on the sale.

Spruce up the inside of your home, to the point of having it professionally “staged,” if need be. This means removing clutter, toning down any over-the-top colors or décor items and stowing away personal memorabilia—such as family photos—all of which make it difficult for buyers to envision themselves living there. Professional stagers add furniture, art and other décor items—as appropriate—to dress the home for more beautiful photography, virtual tours and live showings. Remember, in today’s marketplace over 80 percent of homebuyers start their search online and 61 percent visit homes they first previewed over the Internet.

Spruce up the outside too. The trip from the driveway to the front door can be a deal killer, if the buyers get turned off before they ever get inside. Paint, plant and prune!

Be flexible about when your home can be shown. With so many homes for buyers to see, if you place too many restrictions on when they can see yours, you may find it rarely gets shown at all.

Keep one step ahead of a potential buyer. Hire a home inspector to inspect the home before it goes on the market. This helps provide an impartial assessment of the work that needs to be done—such as roof repairs or plumbing upgrades—making the home that much more attractive, or further reducing its cost to mitigate for the buyer performing his own repairs. Be assured the buyer will get his own inspection, so be smart and avoid nasty surprises by having your own done first.
We’d love to hear any additional tips that readers can offer that will also help expedite a sale in today’s market.


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