New Year’s Resolution

Sarasota’s real estate market traveled light years in 2009, compared with where it was this time last year; and where other Florida markets still are today.  Even as ours is being recommended as the #1 best-priced housing market in the U.S.— by such real estate gurus as Barbara Corcoran for NBC’s Today Show and the market analysts at zillow.com—other major Florida markets, including Jacksonville, Orlando and Miami, are being dismissed as the nation’s most overpriced.

Last May, when Michael Saunders invited noted real estate expert Steve Harney to Sarasota to headline a company-wide assembly of our agents, he was very clear in his takeaway message. The only way to re-enervate our market is to educate sellers to back down from unrealistic price expectations born of an unrealistic boom.   Using actual statistics culled from the Sarasota MLS, Harney showed the enormous gap between what homes are listed for and what buyers are actually willing to pay.  He then challenged our agents to close the gap.   “If not you,’ he boomed to the back row, “Then who?  If agents from one of the most respected firms in the nation won’t take the lead, who will?”

Harney’s words had a seismic impact.  By mid-June—some six weeks later—agents from Michael Saunders & Company had achieved more than $110.7 million in overall price reductions; with more happening every day since then.  Moreover, they didn’t simply petition their sellers to lower prices, but came fortified with fresh market statistics to help their clients understand why such a move was vital to their best interests.

After that, the proverbial dam broke; unleashing months—even years—of pent-up buyer demand.  Buyers in droves jumped eagerly off the fence to take advantage of these best-priced opportunities, while many also queued-up to take advantage of the first-time homebuyer tax credit that had recently been enacted into law.  This past week the Sarasota Association of Realtors announced that overall sales for November 2009 were nearly 86 percent higher than last November. What a difference a year makes.

Asked by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune last week to identify which of our agents turned in the most impressive performances of 2009, the answer was a no-brainer.  As shown on the graphs below, it was through the combined efforts of every one of our agents working diligently in a tough market that led Michael Saunders & Company to increase its commanding share of the Sarasota market among the five best-performing brokers.  This holds true across all price ranges; but becomes particularly dramatic as the price range goes up. (Source: TRENDGRAPHIX: November 2009).  As well, the agents in our Manatee County and Englewood offices have achieved similar across-the-board dominance of their respective markets. Call any of our agents to share additional in-depth information from TRENDGRAPHIX—an independent source for the latest in local market trends and information.

If you’re planning to sell your home in 2010 you should pay particular attention to the graph that depicts the percentage of “buyer sales by dollar volume.”  It shows that agents from Michael Saunders & Company furnish the buyer for closed transactions as often as the next two competitors combined.

For the foreseeable future Southwest Florida will remain firmly entrenched in a buyers’ market where the best-priced properties will continue to sell, while the rest sit.  Pricing as correctly and aggressively as possible is the best way to ensure your home attracts the most buyers.  With the market’s largest share of buyers coming to us through every available portal—including michaelsaunders.com, our international brokerage affiliations and our referral division—the best resolution you can make if you’re planning to sell in the New Year is to contact an agent from Michael Saunders & Company.

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