Archives May, 2009

Steve Harney Hits Hard with his Message for the Real Estate Market

“In order for the world’s economy to come back, we have to bring it back,” said second speaker Steve Harney about the task ahead of the agents in the room. Also a sought-after national speaker, Steve authors a monthly informational presentation for top professionals titled “Keeping Current Matters.”


Michael Saunders and Steve Harney share a moment at the 'Reinvent Yourself 09' event

Michael Saunders and Steve Harney share a moment at the 'Reinvent Yourself 09' event

Speaking at the Michael Saunders & Company ‘Reinvent Yourself 09’ event at the Chelsea Center in Sarasota, Steve’s dynamic, vocal approach reaches the very back of the room with the strength of his message, which proves both eye-opening and straightforward. “While all other brokers are cutting back on their resources, Michael Saunders & Company is having a conference on enhancing their services. You have proven you are the best.”

Further, Steve challenges the room to work with their customers to price properties with consideration for the market demands. “We have seen a disparity between the sold price and the listed price of the homes in this area,” said Steve. “It is up to you to price your properties realistically to turn this market around.”

“This was the best titled conference I’ve been to in two years,” added Steve in his closing remarks. “We all need to reinvent ourselves to steer through this market.”


Reinventing Ourselves: Matthew Ferrara Takes the Stage

Renowned national speaker and trainer, Matthew Ferrara is known for his enthusiastic style. A driving force for applying real estate technology innovation, Matthew has helped thousands of real estate professionals reinvent how the real estate industry works as they take advantage of new and existing technologies. To further complement the day’s theme, Matthew expressed the importance of recognizing the fundamental differences of today’s consumer, and the value behind utilizing technology and social networking channels to reach them.

Matthew Ferrara gets dramatic

Matthew Ferrara gets dramatic

In today’s event, Matthew stressed the importance of recognizing the transition from traditional marketing approaches to the more technology-based consumers of today.  “One of the most fundamental changes in the market is to always follow the consumer,” said Matthew about the. “When the consumer changes, market conditions change as well.”

In the presentation, held at the Chelsea Center in Sarasota, agents learned how it is now necessary to leverage technology to create competitive advantages in the real estate market. “Social networking is the new prospecting,” added Matthew, “Relationship management is the modern method to gaining the trust of your customers.”

Michael Saunders Kicks off Reinvent Yourself 09

Foreshadowing the information-packed day ahead, company CEO and Founder Michael Saunders opened the conference by stating, “Get ready for a morning and afternoon that will knock your socks off!” By all means, Michael was right, as agents were treated to a day filled with some of real estate’s most dynamic speakers and panelists.

To a packed audience consisting of over 400 company agents, Michael gave a somber reminder about the challenges to be faced in the coming months. “After navigating through a storm for the last four years,” added Michael in her opening remarks, “we find ourselves with a job to do. As we see buyers gaining more confidence, we are optimistic and focused on how to steer past this storm to the bright opportunities ahead.”

Michael kicks off 'Reinvent Yourself 09'

Michael kicks off 'Reinvent Yourself 09'

While the future of the real estate market is the central concern for all in attendance, the event’s theme was focused on engaging technology to better communicate and understand the needs of homebuyers and sellers. “Do we need to communicate with our consumers in a different way,” asked Michael of the crowd. “Yes, and that is what today is all about. You will leave here with the tools you need to effectively communicate with today’s consumer.”


MSC Agents Participate in Groundbreaking Social Networking Conference – Reinvent Yourself 09

Agents from throughout Michael Saunders & Company were abuzz with enthusiasm at yesterday’s groundbreaking conference –  ‘Reinvent Yourself 09’ – where our guest speakers and panelists ushered in the tools and approaches necessary to meet the needs and demands of today’s consumer.

Deborah Beacham with Glenn Johnson and Bob Dennison of SRQ 360

Deborah Beacham with Glenn Johnson and Bob Dennison of SRQ 360

“I am delighted that Michael Saunders & Company makes the commitment to continuing education for agents,” said Deborah Beacham, who recently received kudos for representing the highest sale in Sarasota for 2009. “As agents, we learn that every transaction is different, and by attending these events we gain the information that our customers deserve.” (more…)


First In First Out

“This city was among the first in the nation to fall victim to the real estate collapse.  Now it seems to be in the earliest stages of a recovery, a hopeful sign for an economy mired in trouble and anxiety.”  David Streitfeld wrote last week in his column for the New York Times.

Although Streitfeld—a veteran real estate reporter—was referring to Sacramento, CA in the article entitled “Where Home Prices Crashed Early, Signs of a Rebound,” he could also be describing Southwest Florida; which likewise boomed early, crashed sooner and where the earliest signs of recovery are abundant in both statistical and anecdotal evidence.

If Sacramento—as Streitfeld suggests—was ground zero for California’s boom and bust, then Sarasota-Bradenton is among a handful of markets vying for the same dubious distinction in Florida.  We boomed very early in what was destined to become a national housing bubble, then were among the first markets to feel the downturn; which, as we well know, cascaded full-throttle into a nationwide meltdown.

In the same news cycle a few weeks ago, Steve Bergsman—a real estate columnist for Inman News—made a similar observation in his article “Home Sales Boom in ‘Busted’ Markets.”   He said:  “The odd secret in America’s housing data is that most of California, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Florida—that experienced the largest corrections after the housing bust—are now reporting the greatest percentage increases in housing sales.”



Reported Sarasota-Bradenton Price Drops Are Good News For Homebuyers and Sellers


Headlines of an article posted online today from the Sarasota Herald Tribune website…

“Sarasota-Bradenton Posts Nation’s 7th Biggest Home Price Drop”

…and what good news it could be for the homebuyer!

Let’s take a closer look at some other “dropping” statistics, but positive ones.  In April of 2008, Trendgraphix reported that Sarasota County had a 14.6 month supply of inventory based on current listings and pending properties.  April of 2009 showed a drop of that number to a 7 month inventory or a 52% “drop.”  What does this mean?  It means that buyer confidence in the local real estate market is returning.  It means that buyers are moving off that fence.  They are taking advantage of pricing that is correcting itself from the runaway inflation of years like 2005 where the annual appreciation of homes exceeded 30% due to a lack of inventory and frenzied investor buying.  This is the statistic that we need to be creating the buzz about.  This change in inventory is a positive trend that every prospective buyer should know and heed.  It is a true sign of a market that is in the process of a healthy correction. (more…)


Pending Sales Increase – Inventory Levels Nearing Normal Market Conditions

SARASOTA, Florida—(May, 2009)—“To see these positive trends solidify is an encouraging sign,” said Michael Saunders—founder and CEO of Michael Saunders & Company—referring to the latest TRENDGRAPHIX report on residential real estate sales for Southwest Florida, which shows a strong April following a stronger March; both of which were substantially higher than a respectable February.   TRENDGRAPHIX gathers current and historical data from the region’s MLS to produce detailed monthly reports based on actual closed and pending sales.

“We’re by no means out of the woods,” Saunders cautioned.  “Buyers are cherry-picking their way through best-priced properties in every price range; but especially those under $350,000.  We’re starting to see improved sales in the $350,000 and $1.5 million range; but sales in the $1.5 million and up range remain something of a challenge for all but the most aggressively priced properties.  Those that are priced aggressively are selling faster, as evidenced by recent record-breaking sales on Bird Key, in The Oaks and at the Ritz-Carlton, where properties were sold for $4.75 million, $3.175 million and $3.3 million respectively.  The common threads uniting these properties are aggressive pricing and the seller’s willingness to negotiate down the stretch.” (more…)


Reinventing the Foundations of Success, Company-Wide Event Focused on Enhancing our Service

Working your way to the top of the industry is no easy task. Keeping yourself firmly planted in the summit requires a constant drive to enhance your skills and educate yourself on both the demands of market and your clients to stay ahead of the competition.

With this in mind, we at Michael Saunders & Company provide our agents with the educational resources needed to help ensure they are performing at the high level expected by their customers. On Thursday, May 14, our agents are invited to attend the company’s most valuable educational event, where some of the highest-regarded speakers in the real estate industry will present business-enhancing information exclusively to Michael Saunders & Company agents.

Michael Saunders, founder and CEO of the company, opens the event, followed by Matthew Ferrara-a driving force in real estate technology innovation-and Steve Harney-author and sought-after speaker on producing top results in real estate. Additionally, the event includes two Breakout Sessions. The first of which, titled Social Networking, Exploring Your Friendly Future, is moderated by the company’s director of interactive marketing, Matthew Haber. This session is directed by experts from Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, Michael Saunders & Company, and AtLarge, Inc., to share their experience with today’s most popular networking web sites and how they can benefit our agents.


The Not So Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Yard Signs

Think about it. The signs were everywhere. Sometimes two or three in a row; but definitely a few scattered here and there on just about every street, in every neighborhood in town. “For Sale” signs, that is; those ubiquitous front yard squares that suddenly cropped up everywhere and wouldn’t go away. As more and more of them popped-up—like so many weeds in an otherwise perfect landscape—you didn’t need the media to remind you that times were not good for the local housing industry. You just needed to look down any street to realize the awful truth.

Now, just as suddenly, the signs are going away; and homes that once sat dark and vacant for months, even years, are coming back to life. What gives? Has the market turned? The national media, of course, says “no, not yet,” or “it’s too soon to tell,” or “maybe…but.”

Your own eyes, however, sense the unfolding story; as they see yard sign after yard sign disappear overnight; then watch as cars slow to a crawl in front of homes that still have one. If buyers haven’t yet snagged the best deals of the decade, you can bet they’re doing their homework; driving around, scribbling down phone numbers and surfing the Net. Through March of this year, has logged an astounding 331,371 visits, from over 173 countries and territories. Likewise, call volume to the Appointment Center at Michael Saunders & Company confirms unusually high activity. Even with season a thing of the past, customer requests to visit properties listed with Michael Saunders & Company have flooded-in at the unprecedented rate of more than 300 a day. In fact, year-to-date appointments to show properties to buyers are 16 percentage points higher than during the peak of the housing bubble in 2004; and 30 percent ahead of last year.


A Return to Bidding Wars? Tell Me More…

Any seasoned Realtor will tell you that real estate markets go through cycles.  No one can pinpoint the bottom of a real estate cycle but there are signs that indicate that we are on our way out of an almost 4 year decline. One such sign, as reported by the Sarasota Herald Tribune in today’s paper, states that lower priced properties are (again) seeing multiple offers. One property in Manatee county listed for $124,000 had even received 27 offers! Remarkable. Full story here.

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