Monday, October 08, 2012

Most Sellers Estimate Home Value Well Above Recommended Listing Price

Most Sellers Estimate Home Value Well Above Recommended Listing Price

Setting a list price for a property can be tricky. Here are a few examples of how list prices can go wrong, and some tips on helping you get the most for your property.

Over a year ago I had a seller tell me they HAD to get one million for their property. They explained that that was the number that would enable them to move. I suggested a list price of 850,000. They insisted on 1.1 million. I carefully explained that I didn't mind testing the waters at a higher price, as long as they were prepared to stick with me until it closed. They grew weary of the lack of showings, refused to reduce the price, and took it off the market after a year. Yes, one year, no price reduction.  Next, an agent shows up and says he has a buyer. They list it with this agent at a price well under my original and possibly optimistic 850,000 figure. Alas no buyer. Finally they list it with yet another agent, who sold the property for 500,000. This is an extreme yet classic example of a seller ignoring good advice that probably cost them over 200,000 in the long run, and it was a long run for everyone.

Recently I had a seller contact me to say they wanted me to sell their house. I looked at the house and compared it closely to the recent sales and gave them a list price which I explained gave it a premium due to the improving market and lack of inventory. I carefully explained that the most recent comparable sale was the same house two doors down, that had close to 100,000 in recent improvements. This seller said she likes her old kitchen and baths and that the people who bought the other house don't even use the garage, a feature her house lacked. I explained that value in the market for a buyer is not determined by how much she likes her house, but by how much a buyer likes it and is willing to pay based mainly in market data and comparison. This seller listed her property with another agent 50,000 above what I felt was a optimistic figure.

Many agents will list a property higher than they know its worth, to get the listing, then beat the sellers price expectation down over time. This happens mainly because the seller is overly ambitious on setting value.

Other agents, especially during the 2005-2010 market, list properties well below market value. I know two agents in particular whose sales are consistently 20% below market. These agents make a very nice living giving their clients money away to buyers. Why do sellers let that happen? Desperation. They have listed it once or twice at too high a price, and the final agent smells blood and takes advantage of the client. See paragraph one. ( Although in that case the agent wasn't an unscrupulous self serving snake, just lucky to get the listing)

When you list a property for sale, be careful to choose an agent who can show you the sales data that was used in determining the value of your property. It is always a good idea, especially in the current market of low inventory and eager buyers, to give the hard data value some cushion to allow for variables and the potential that your house could be worth more. It is most important however, to reduce that figure within a few months of listing it, if a buyer isn't found, or feedback to your agent clarifies the objection of things you were hoping would be ignored. Make sure your agent keeps you up to date on cooperating agents opinion of value, recent sales, new listings and market activity, so you can work as a team to get the best price possible. Your agent should be your advocate, and you should be theirs.

Be assured that if I am your agent, I will neither exaggerate the value of your home to secure the listing, or undervalue it to get a quick commission if you are a stressed seller. Real estate commissions are hefty and pricing a property is an art. I work with you as my client to get you the best price possible.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Marina Lofts Development Proposed for Land East of Esplanade Condo, New River,Fort Lauderdale

Two residential towers 27 and 16 stories high are proposed for a site on the South side of New River just east of the Esplanade Condominium.  Here is a link to an impact study that gives a decription of what this project would be.  Marina Lofts Impact Report

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Single Famil y Houses in Broward up 12.5% in a year.

The median sales price of a single-family home in Broward County rose 12.5 percent in August compared to the same period in 2011, according to a report from Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors. The median price rose to $214,950 from $191,000 in August 2011, although the number dropped by $50 compared to July 2012. Broward’s townhome and condominium market saw a 7.6 percent year-over-year increase in August. Single-family inventory in the county fell by 51 percent in August, with a 44.1 percent drop for condos and townhomes.

Tamarac, Florida. A look back at its unique beginnings, as I remember it told by those who built it.

Ken Behring moved to Fort Lauderdale in the early 60s’s and bought a piece of land. Today it is the city of Tamarac. Tamarac was the first city to be granted a charter to incorporate as a city, before anyone lived there.  In the 60’s you could do things like that, if you knew and supported people like the Governor and Bud Dickenson, who held some elected State-wide office at the time.  Ken Behring appointed the first Mayor, John Morse. Since no one lived in Tamarac, there were no votes or elections. Ken just appointed John Mayor.

 Tamarac was the first city that offered houses where all of the exterior maintenance was done by the city. Ken knew that there were people who wanted to have a small house in Florida, but didn’t want the maintenance headache, and he met that need with Tamarac.

Ken was also one of the pioneers of pre-fabricated houses. Not mobile homes - they were traditional homes on foundations, but they were manufactured and delivered to the site and assembled, not in months, but days.  His factory had to be walled from view because people were coming from all over the world including Japan to see what he was doing. Ultimately, he abandoned the plan, mainly due to pressure from the construction trade unions who saw that his pre-fab  concept could put their members out of work.

Ken hired my mother after seeing her at a Museum of Art function where she roasted members of Beaux Art, a Museum of Art support group and a much anticipated and fretful annual occasion for the group. Ken said “You should be in public relations. Call me if you are interested” My mother was teaching high school at Stranahan raising two children on 4,000 a year at the time. She soon called him, and became the Director of PR of The Behring Corporation. She hired Kate Hartland as her first secretary, not because Kate had any office skills, in fact she couldn’t type. Kate was just very funny. Kate went on to become PR Director for United Federal Savings and Loan. (Another story for another time)  When I was sick at Sunrise Middle School and sent home, or when I missed the bus, I would be picked up, not by my mother, but by James, Mr. Behring’s driver, in Ken’s limousine.

The Behring Corporation eventually went bust in a market crash. All of the company VP’s including my mother piled into Mr. Behrings limousine for a ride to the unemployment office.

Ken moved to California and  made an even bigger fortune. He was featured on the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous TV show.  Later in life is proudest achievement was founding a charity that provides wheelchairs for people around the world who otherwise wouldn’t have one.

Ken was also involved with a plan for another city in Florida with Jackie Gleason as his partner. I’ll save that story for another time too.

The 60’s was a time in Broward County where more than one person created a city out of thin air, flat land, some money, and raw nerve.

Thank you Ken, for the City of Tamarac, for all of those wheelchairs,  and for launching my mothers career in Public Relations.

Ever notice how many agents claim to be in the "Top 1% of Realtors Nationwide?" A catchy tag line for sure, but what does it really mean?

The Wall Street Journal recently published a list of the 1000 top producing agents in the Country. John Burger in Manhattan grabs the top spot for having gross sales of $279 million last year.  There are currently 1.1 million members of NAR. John is at the top of the pile of money earners scewing the numbers way up On the other end are NAR members in the business for two years or less who earn a median $8,900 per year. If the lowest income for 1.1 million Realtors is way less than $8,900 a year, and the highest income is John Burger at 279 million, I guess its not hard to claim to be in the top 1% of Realtors nationwide, which would probably put you earning less that $100,000. Not as dazzling an achievement as the claim could lead you to believe.

The median income for real estate professionals in the NAR network last year was $34,100, a 4.5% decline from 2009. Realtor income dropped every year since 2002 when the peak salary hit $52,200. Realtor income is down 34.7% between then and 2010.The median income of Realtors dropped almost 35% over the last eight years, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors, as home sales across the nation struggle to gain footing.

When choosing a Realtor, they key question is not how much they make, but how much they make for you. I know some very successful listing agents in Fort Lauderdale who consistantly sell properties way under market value.  Who are they working for?  Choose an agent who works for you to get the best deal on a purchase, or the highest price on a sale. Realtors are paid handsomly for what we do, shouldn't you get your money's worth?

I prefer my tag line; "I Am Not Number One, You Are" 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Who are the Richest Real Estate Buyers in South Florida?

Southeast Florida offers some of the worlds most luxurious real estate. A boat ride along the waterways of Fort Lauderdale offers a dazzling view of billions of dollars of waterfront mansions. The market for very high end condominiums in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties is stronger than ever. Who are the people who can afford these properties and where are they coming from?

As the worlds economies continue to shift, and a wider gap between the uber-rich and the rest of us gets bigger by the day. The super rich seek not just the best of the best in real estate, but seek safe havens, not just for their money, but for their lives.

Miami has always been a haven for rich South Americans seeking stability and security in an envelope of luxury.

More recently, South Florida has become a magnet for newly rich Russians, particularly in coastal areas of northern Dade County.

Europeans, particularly the British and French who may have once gone to the coast of Spain, are now buying in South Florida where again, stability and security is key.

If you look at some of my vintage postcards of Fort Lauderdale from the 1940's, at  the marinas show what was then luxury yachts, usually owned by captains of industry at the time. Today these look like toy boats compared to the mega-yachts docked cheek to jowl along every suitable waterway in the city.

Manned with an iphone, I recently took clients on my boat and googled the names of jaw dropping yachts we saw. The co-founder of Microsoft, Steven Spielberg, and Dr. Ruth were among the lucky owners of yachts that were close to cruise ship size. 

While waterfront homes on the Las Olas Isles are pricey by most standards, often the yacht in back is valued many times higher than the real estate. Owners of many of these homes are rarely seen, because they are rarely in town. They may spend a few weeks, but otherwise it is the yacht crew using the house during provisioning stops between the Northeast and the Caribbean.

Palm Beach has always been the home of old money, and still is. Quite, dignified money.

Fort lauderdale, because of it's 144 miles of waterways and Port Everglades, is home to new money yacht owners. One house on the Las Olas Isles has a 14 car garage and a 4 million yacht in back, and is the Consulate of Mali. Mali, by the way, is one of the poorest countries in Africa. I question why they would need a Consulate in Fort Lauderdale?

Growing up in Fort Lauderdale, of course I was exposed to what were then, very rich people. A family friend married a man who inherited Gieco Insurance. They had probably the largest house around with an indoor pool, a grand entry staircase, and all built of pink brick. For the time, that was rich. By todays standards? Charming.

There are plenty of successful plumbers living in waterfront McMansions in Fort Lauderdale living the good life. There are also plenty of outrageously rich people. Sort of hard to tell who is who really.

This has always been a town where if you had enough money, it didn't matter how you got it, you could be a socialite. As archaic as that term may sound, being one was a very big deal for a long time in Fort Lauderdale. I could write a book about the rising stars of the newly rich who came to town and became not who they were, but who they wanted to be, and no one questioned it.

While I would like to say that I cater to the ultra-rich in my real estate business, the truth is, I don't. Which is not to say that if you are one, that I wouldn't like to sell you some major real estate.

It is more likely I find myself working with people whose wherewithal I can relate to. I think my feet are just to firmly planted on terra firma to appeal to that stratosphere.

But, if you want buy some real estate in the same town as some if the richest folk on earth, I will take you on my boat and show you how more than a few of them are living. No Reason why you shouldn't be among them. 

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Another Nice Note From A Happy Seller!

Rob Rose is an excellent Realtor and business man. I had a short sale drag out over the course of 2 years. For the entire duration Rob was very responsive and professional. He went the extra mile to make sure I understood what was going on, and that I was comfortable with it. And as a nice perk, he has embraced technology. For a computer geek like me it was amazing to have a Realtor who responds to email's, provides electronic documents, and orchestrates getting those documents to and from all affected parties. His response time in my experience, during waking ours, is about 15 minutes max - usually under 5 :) - He really makes you feel like his only client & priority.

And speaking about above and beyond - his contact network is unparalleled. I had a flood midway through closing (a huge one). Rob directed me to a contractor that was amazing and fixed the issue in budget, on time, and very quickly. He also chose the legal team to handle all of the proceedings - and they couldn't have been any more perfect.

You just can't go wrong on his advise. I'll never deal with any real-estate situations again without him on my side.

Thanks again Rob!!

Friday, August 03, 2012

A thank you note, from the other agents buyer!

Here is a short note from the buyer of a property I had listed for sale. While he was represented by a Realtor, I prepared all the contract documents and coordinated all of the details of this difficult short sale transaction which even involved a flood and renovation due to a burst pipe during the process. Thanks Zach!

"I just wanted to say thanks Rob, your professionalism and helpfulness in "getting the deal done" was greatly appreciated! On top of it all you were the sellers agent, and I was the buyer! I will definitely refer business your way."

Zach Fallin
Flying Pig Ranch
Oracle, AZ

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Forecloure Sales Drive 8% Average Price Increase Over a Year Ago

Significant price increases in bank-owned foreclosures are driving gains at the national, regional and local levels, helping home prices turn the corner with small quarterly and yearly gains.
National average prices for bank-owned foreclosures (REO) were up 8.1 percent over a year ago on a median price-per-square-foot basis, according to May data from Clear Capital, and have outpaced non-REO price declines of -0.7 percent by 8.8 percentage points.

“Strength in REO-only price trends as well as some early indications of price gains spreading from low tier sectors to the mid, and higher-priced homes is helping confirm that the country continues to make progress on its recovery, and we are expecting to see improvements extend over the next several months,” says Dr. Alex Villacorta, Director of Research and Analytics at Clear Capital.
Clear Capital reported today that in May national median home prices grew on both a quarterly and yearly basis for the first time since August 2010. Regional performance improved across the board with the West, South and Northeast also seeing quarterly and yearly gains. However, the Midwest sustained declines, but milder since last.
“National real estate prices in May have finally moved past the continued losses of the last few years. The subsequent stabilization pattern seen in recent months has progressed into the start of moderate growth,” says Villacorta.
Short-term quarterly price trends picked up slightly at the national level, with appreciation of 0.4 percent turning into the first quarterly gain since November of 2011. The positive move at the broader market level is a reflection of the increasing strength at the regional level.
Helping to support growth at the national level, the West saw a notable jump in prices over the quarter, taking the lead over all the regions with growth of 2.7. The South recorded home price appreciation of 1.2 percent quarter-over-quarter, doubling the small gains of 0.6 percent reported on last month. Similarly, the Northeast matched the national level gains of 0.4 percent over the quarter, showing a modest uptick over the gains of 0.2 percent reported last month.
The Midwest continued to absorb price declines. With prices declining only -2.0 percent over the quarter the magnitude of the declines are subsiding, as compared to last month’s quarterly losses of -2.7 percent.
While growth in REO-only prices is driving broader market gains for most of the regions, the impact on overall prices depends on the level of REO market saturation. For example, the Northeast has seen incredible growth in the REO-only sector shown above, yet has only recorded 1.6 percent gains year-over-year in overall prices. Because the Northeast has a mere 10 percent REO saturation, the lowest level across all regions, even substantial growth in the REO-only price segment hasn’t swayed overall prices significantly. Additionally, the Northeast’s REO-only prices are more sensitive to shifting demand, fueling the seemly high annual gains, says Villacorta.
The Midwest is the only region that continues to see REO-only price declines on a year over year basis. While REO-only price growth has led the other regions into broader based growth, the Midwest has yet to receive assistance from this sector on overall progress. It’s worth noting that the Midwest’s REO saturation levels are still the highest of all the regions. As such, price weakness in the REO-only segment has been harder for the market to shake off, resulting in sustained declines at the broader level, as seen in overall yearly declines of -3.1 percent.
However, each of the three regions now seeing gains in REO-only prices first saw long term reductions in REO saturation rates. And while the Midwest continues to face declines, it has achieved a reduction in its REO saturation rate over the last several years, from a high of 45 percent in 2009, down to 37 percent in May.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Note of Thanks from a Happy Seller

James and I want to thank all of you for all of your hard work, as well as your financial sacrifice, to make this deal happen.

We had been trying to sell the house on and off for over five years, with different realtors and different short-sale attorneys. We had it under contract five or six times, or was it seven? (I forget the exact number) Every time we thought we had a deal, something fell apart and we were disappointed once again. With the foreclosure auction just around the corner we had given up any hope that this time would be different. But it was different, because of each of you. You were able to accomplish what others could not and when the deal was about to fall through like all the others, you are the ones that made the difference. We have never met any of you in person, but you have touched our lives in a very meaningful way and we are most appreciative for all that you have done for us. We can now, finally, move on with our lives.

With sincere gratitude,

Marx & James

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Tax-free forgiveness of debt on primary residence available this year.

If you are forgiven of mortgage debt through a modication or short sale of your promary home, you most likely are not liable for taxes on the forgiven amount.  The specific criteria to have forgiven debt excluded are the debt must have been incurred to buy, build or substantially improve the residence, called “acquisition debt, and the property must be the taxpayer’s primary residence.
The exclusion applies only to acquisition debt up to $2 million, or $1 million for married taxpayers filing separately, and cancelled mortgage debt not used to buy, build, or improve a principal residence is not eligible for the exclusion, but may be excludable under a different provision, such as bankruptcy or insolvency.

Under the Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007, the provision is for debt forgiven between 2007 and 2012, unless the bill gets extended.

For those considering a short sale, waiting to do a short sale after December 31, 2012 may lead to tax penalties that could have been avoided for the homeowner unless the bill gets extended.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

The Way A Showing Should Be Done

As a follow up to my earlier post regarding other agent's failure to schedule showings, I received this email from an agent who showed a listing of  mine. The property was available,the appointment was made, lights on, blinds open, music playing. As it should be!


Hello Rob,

 I just wanted to thank you for the enormous amount of time you spent showing my Buyers your condo listing. It was obvious they were very interested in the property and you took extra time to show all the amenities and linger a long time inside the condo as they took in the view, etc. We never felt rushed and to do that all again for the second showing including walking the parking garage as well. It was greatly appreciated and is often not the norm when I show another agent's listing! Thanks again...

 Best regards,

Clint Winter

Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate


Making Appointments For Showings Shouldn't Be Impossible

When you list a property for sale, make sure you, and your agent, are available to allow it to be shown. I have tried to set up 7 showings today, and of those, only one is able to be shown. It is Saturday, probably the busiest time of the week and one of the most active times of the year for real estate. Here are the responses I have gotten on these requests.

One agent is a commercial broker not normally available on weekends. His voice mail is full and no reply to emails or calls to his office. When I did reach him, the unit showing as active is under contract, but he has three others the same, all vacant, but because his entire office is involved in a wedding, no one is available to show it. Um, lock box?

The next agent called to say the owners have guests in town and asked that it not be shown.  When I had guests and my property was on the market, I told the guests it may be shown. Simple enough.

Three other units are tenant occupied and require 24 hours notice and have uncooperative tenants. I normally put a clause in a lease that speaks specifically to showings and how they will occur and what notice the tenant is to receive. I have never had an uncooperative tenant who appreciates simple courtesy.

Another agent has a full voice mail and no response to my email request.

If your property is on the market, be sure that your agent is available during reasonable hours and not off on weekends, voice mail is not full, email is responded to, and a workable plan is in place to reply to requests to show your property. If you have guests, alert them to possible showings or provide windows of time that it can be shown on busy real estate days.

I make a point when I list a property to make it easy to show my listings with a reasonable notice, I require the owners and tenants cooperation, and agents who know me, appreciate my cooperation with showings.

Setting up a showing should not be the obstacle to a successful sale.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Want to be on A & E's Sell This House Extreme?

Would you or anyone you know like to be featured on A & E’s Sell This House:Extreme? They are looking for a house for sale in need of a update owned by a couple with a good personality. The house would be listied for sale with me as the Realtor if selected. Read on for details!

The Producer of A&E’s Emmy-nominated home design show, “Sell This House: Extreme.” is looking for potential houses in the Ft. Lauderdale area for an upcoming episode of the show. They will be filming this episode in the middle of March, 2012. They are in the area Wednesday & Thursday and need to find sellers as soon as possible to begin planning their home makeover.
They have added a general contractor to the show. On top of decorating and staging, they will be looking for houses that can use some significant Remodeling. Kitchens, bathrooms, new floors, cabinets and even knocking out some walls are all options now! they are spending $20 - $30K on average for makeovers!
There is no cost involved to the homeowner. The objective is to produce an entertaining TV show in which we help you “Sell This House”. We bring all needed materials and the homeowners get to keep 99% of the items used in the staging process (curtains, linens, etc.)
They are looking for mid range homes that are poorly or over-decorated and about 800 to 2500 square feet. The family MUST be living in the home & it MUST be furnished! If your house is dated, cluttered, has bad paint, stained carpets, old wallpaper, too many houseplants, heavy curtains that block out the light, or has rooms that need to be better put to use, we can help!
The homeowners are an integral part of the transformation so they prefer homeowners who are in good physical health and are able to help our crew with the painting and re-decorating work. They also interact with our host so it is essential they are fluent in English. If the homeowner has a great personality…that’s definitely an added bonus.

The scout itself only takes about 20-30 minutes. They will arrive with a video camera and take a tour with the homeowners. The producers and designer will later review the tape and select the home to be featured on the show.

If you would like to be considered for this show contact Rob Rose at 954-328-9700.