Bradenton Florida Real Estate News

Friday, March 24, 2006

Existing home sales drop in Bradenton - Sarasota...

Today's headline in the Sarasota Herald Tribune, "Existing home sales drop, along with some prices. Sales in Sarasota are down 42 percent, and some sellers are getting serious."

Bravo Realty's Thomas Heimann stands by his earlier bearish prediction of a 20 percent "price correction" this year. But Heimann quickly adds, "We are beginning to see a significant increase in traffic, showings and now also contracts. The homes that do sell are those that are priced very aggressively."

Today's headline in the The (Bradenton) Herald, "Home prices dip in Manatee".

"In a real estate market that has been in favor of sellers for several years, the time of the buyer has returned.

"Numbers released by the Manatee County Property Appraiser's Office show the median sales price of homes in the county fell $11,000 from January to February."

Here at Premier Team we have sold 3 properties this week and are seeing an increase in showing activity. It looks like Spring will be better for the market. On word of caution though, if you are currently on the market be sure that your price is the LOWEST price out there to capture buyer's interest.

--Dan Forbes

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Ten Year History of Mortgage Rates - Chart...

Double-click to enlarge.

Our Cooling Real Estate Market...

The housing market has changed. There are fewer multiple offers. Negotiation is back in vogue. Listings, in general, are taking longer to sell. And some listings are not selling at all.

What are your options if your home is less desirable in the current marketplace than you'd hoped it would be?

One option is reduce your price. Another is to hold out for a while, hoping that the market improves to meet your price. In most cases, however, the latter option is unlikely to yield results.

The robust housing market of the last several years appears to be taking a break. No one knows how long it will be before we see double-digit price appreciation again. Many experts believe it will be years.

A third option, if there's no urgency to sell, is to rent the property for a time and sell at a later date. This might be worth considering. However, as with any scheme, there are pros and cons that should be evaluated carefully before making a decision.

On the positive side, a property that is, or will soon be, sitting empty will generate income. This income can help offset mortgage and property tax obligations and homeowner association dues for condo owners. Another plus is that you can buy time until the market improves.

On the other side, consider that the market in most places is still good. 2006 isn't expected to be as strong a year for homes sales as was 2005, which was the best year ever. However, David Lereah, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, predicts that the 2006 home sales volume will be the third best ever.

A risk in renting now and selling in 2007 or later is that the home sale market might not be as good then as it is now. If interest rates rise considerably in the interim, it most certainly won't be better. A downturn in the general economy also wouldn't bode well for the housing market, particularly if accompanied by higher interest rates and oil prices.

HOME SELLER TIP: An important factor to consider is the tax implications of renting rather than selling. If you have owned and occupied the property as your primary residence for two of the last five years, you are entitled to a capital gain tax exemption. For a single individual, $250,000 of capital gain is tax-free. The exemption is $500,000 for a married couple who files jointly.

If you wait over three years to sell because of market conditions, you would lose this valuable exemption unless you move back in to the property, which might not be convenient or possible at that time.

You could forgo the exemption and turn the property into a permanent rental for tax purposes. At some later date, you might do a 1031 exchange and trade this investment property for another, thereby deferring tax on the gain.

However, deferring gain on an investment property may not be as advantageous as taking the tax-free gain you can realize when you sell a personal residence. Be sure to consult with a knowledgeable tax adviser about the consequences of turning your single-family residence into a temporary or permanent rental.

Even if you do sell in time to preserve your capital gain tax exemption, you're likely to face additional expenses preparing your home for sale. Tenants usually don't care for a property as an owner would, so you should anticipate that repairs and renovations will be necessary.

THE CLOSING: When you take into account the cost of future renovations and staging, and the uncertainty of a future market, you might be better off lowering your asking price and selling now.

Dian Hymer is author of "House Hunting, The Take-Along Workbook for Home Buyers," and "Starting Out, The Complete Home Buyer's Guide," Chronicle Books.

Do-It-Yourself Staging...

Sellers shouldn’t look at the cost of staging a home. Instead, they should consider how much more it will allow them to make on their house, says Peggy Selinger-Eaton, who has recently published a book and DVD entitled, "Stage Your Home for Profit." Here are Selinger-Eaton’s suggestions for do-it-yourself stagers:

• Remove clutter except for a few wisely chosen accessories (candles, fresh flowers, crystal).

• Bedrooms should have beds: If you're a bed short, use an inflatable mattress and some boxes to create a faux bed.

• Light and more light: Raise window blinds and remove screens from windows to let in as much natural light as possible.

• Modernize fixtures: Replace boring or tarnished light fixtures. Trade in old lampshades for new ones. Replace sink and tub fixtures with modern, shiny ones.

• Deep-six shabby furniture. Selinger-Eaton recommends buying cheap- chic replacements at Target.

• Create life: Set the table, leave on the big-screen TV, play background music.

Source: Christian Science Monitor, Keith Rockmael (03/13/2006) © Copyright 2006 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Realtor Attacked While Showing A Home....

Are FSBO's at risk?

When Realtor Janice Flasschoen was showing a home in South Daytona on Monday, a man posing as a buyer pulled out a hammer and hit her on the head, according to police and media reports. However, Flasschoen resisted and was able to turn the tables on her attacker.

"And I just reached out and I just kicked him between the legs and I just kept kicking, and he threw the gun aside and that's when I realized the gun wasn't real," Flasschoen told police. Suspect Balaz Gombos tried to get away, but nearby construction workers, alerted by Flasschoen's screams, came to the house and held him until police arrived at the scene. Gombos was arrested on several charges, including robbery, aggravated battery, false imprisonment and using a weapon in the commission of a felony.

Just last week another Realtor in St. Petersburg was attacked, bound, and left in a closet by a man posing as a buyer. She untied herself and escaped.

This makes me wonder why for-sale-by-owners will let anyone into their home. So many times when I call a for-sale-by-owner I'll hear, "My husband's at work, but you can come over and see the home if you want."

Realtors are trained to gather information on buyers before showing property, and trained how to protect themselves in dangerous situations.

Is saving a few thousand dollars worth the risk to the for-sale-by-owner?


Monday, March 13, 2006

Psycho Path voted wackiest street name....

Farfrompoopen Road, the only road to Constipation Ridge, lost to Divorce Court and Psycho Path, which placed No. 1 in an online poll of the nation's wildest, weirdest and wackiest street names, Associated Press reported.

Mitsubishi Motors sponsored the poll on TheCarConnection.com. In first place was Psycho Path in Traverse City, Mich., followed by Heather Highlands, Pa.'s, Divorce Court in second and Arkansas' Farfrompoopen Road in third.

The company said all the roads were verified, although some are private and hard to find, according to AP.

The top 10:
10. Tater Peeler Road in Lebanon, Texas
9. The intersection of Count and Basie in Richmond, Va.
8. Shades of Death Road in Warren County, N.J.
7. Unexpected Road in Buena, N.J.
6. Bucket of Blood Street in Holbrook, Ariz.
5. The intersection of Clinton and Fidelity in Houston
4. The intersection of Lonesome and Hardup in Albany, Ga.
3. Farfrompoopen Road in Tennessee (the only road up to Constipation Ridge)
2. Divorce Court in Heather Highlands, Pa.
1. Psycho Path in Traverse City, Mich.Janis Mara, Inman News

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Overpricing is #1 Mistake Sellers Say....

Overpricing is the number one mistake home sellers said they made when listing their homes, according to a new national e-mail survey conducted by HouseHunt. The margin was nearly three-to-one over the second choice, HouseHunt reported.

Survey respondents said their next-biggest mistake was "dealing with the same real estate agent who represented the buyer," thereby setting up a possible conflict of interest and possibly a perception that the buyer was getting a better deal.

The third-biggest mistake noted by the nearly 400 survey participants was "failure to disclose known defects or problems." Virtually tied for fourth place were: "underpricing their properties" and "not utilizing Internet technology to market their properties."

"Here in the Bradenton - Sarasota market where we have seen prices skyrocket in the last 3 years we are now seeing buyers unwilling to pay such high prices. Price reductions are now counted in the 100's daily on our MLS. The successful Seller is the one who understands the market and prices their home accordingly." --Dan Forbes

Bradenton Real Estate . com

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Fourteen Percent Price Pullback in Bradenton

I've just completed the Premier Team Real Estate Report which shows the Housing Market Statistics for February 2006.

Here's a summary for the single family home market:
3387 active listings: up 345 percent over last year
165 sales closed: 43 percent down from last year.
7.1 month supply of homes on the market
$300,000 median sale price: down 14% compared to six months ago.

Would you like a copy of the Total Market Overview chart. Send me an email request and I'll be happy to send it to you. Contact form:
http://www.bradentonrealestate.com/index.php?fuseaction=site.contact

Bradenton Real Estate . com

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Tax Tips on Flipping Pre-Construction Homes

Q: I have put down $10,000 for two beach condos in a pre-construction deal. The cash is to hold my position and the initial price at which the properties were offered for sale. The condos are priced at $403,000 and $500,000. In August, I have to put down an additional 15 percent.

I want to know what the tax consequences would be if I were to flip these properties before construction is scheduled to be finished (in about 15 months). When does the time period start for the long-term capital gain requirement? Is it when I put down the $5,000 per unit option price to hold my place? When I put the down payment cash into escrow or when I actually close on the properties?

I'm in the highest tax bracket and I know that I would save a lot of money if this purchase were viewed as a long-term gain. Thank you so much for your time.

A: If you make a profit by selling something that you own, you have a taxable gain. Just what kind of gain hinges on the question of what it is that you bought and when you are considered to have made the purchase under tax law.

If the initial $10,000 payment buys you a transferable contract or an option to buy the property, then your holding period begins with that payment. If you do not have a transferable contract or option until you make the 15 percent down payment in August, then your holding period begins with that payment. If you do not have a transferable option to buy until some time after August, then your holding period will begin at the point that you have a transferable option to buy.

In any case, if you sell your transferable contract or option to buy less than 12 months after you obtained it, any gain will be a short-term capital gain, taxable at your top ordinary income rate. If you sell your transferable contract or option to buy more than 12 months after it was signed, any gain may be considered a long-term capital gain taxable at the 15 percent capital gains tax rate.

Of course, if your contract or option to buy is not transferable prior to completion of construction, then your holding period does not start until you close on the purchase of either condo.

For more information, you might want to check out IRS Reg §1.1234-1, "Options to Buy or Sell," which is available for free at www.irs.gov. As the regulation explains, capital gains tax rates apply to capital assets, and real estate is considered a capital asset.

However an option to purchase real estate might or might not be considered a capital asset. Much will depend on the terms of the document you have signed and the rights it does and does not give you. What many pre-construction buyers don't realize is that often, developers will write contracts that prohibit you from assigning your rights under the contract.

The characterization of your right to buy is going to be the determining factor in finding out whether long-term gains are achieved when you signed the contract or whether you have to wait until you close on the purchase of the units.

As always, each taxpayer's position is unique and any advice offered here is by necessity, general and educational in nature. You should consult a tax professional for advice specifically tailored to this particular situation.

Bradenton Real Estate . com

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Home Sales Fall By Nearly Half

""The sky is falling!" Remember those words? You'd think Chicken Little was alive and well to listen to some people talk about our local housing market. This was the headline in today's local paper: Home sales fall by nearly half. The article went on to describe our slowing market.

Yes, we have swung from a strong seller's market to a strong buyer's market. But that's always the case with real estate. It ALWAYS swings back and forth.

Want some advice? If you're a Seller the good news is you've enjoyed great appreciation the last few years and should have a lot of equity to celebrate. Don't panic. If you need to sell just call a great agent, like myself (humbly), I'll help you through this profitably and painlessly.

If you're a buyer it's a great time to get the "pick of the litter" among houses. Interest rates are still historically low and sellers are motivated. I know of several great deals if you are interested.

--Dan Forbes

Bradenton Real Estate . com