Bradenton Florida Real Estate News

Monday, July 31, 2006

Home Sellers Offer Incentives to Buyers

As the real estate market cools, sellers are finding it increasingly necessary to pile on extra incentives for buyers in order to close a deal. Today's cost-conscious buyers are not only looking for a great price, they are also looking for added value benefits that the seller can bring to the table aside from a drop in their asking price.

For Realtors, this means it is becoming more and more important to find the perfect "deal" rather than the perfect home and will require you to "think outside of the box" a bit to come up with enticing buyer incentives that will leverage the price of a home. With that in mind, there are several ways to sweeten a deal for buyers without necessarily dropping the asking price for your sellers.

Subsequently, if a seller won't budge on their asking price, keep these ideas in your back pocket when thinking of alternative incentives that could ultimately save the deal.

Mortgage Payments for Three Months:
Offer to pay the first three mortgage payments for a potential buyer. On a $300,000 mortgage at 6 percent interest, the monthly mortgage payment would be in the neighborhood of $1,800 per month. Over three months the buyer would save $5,400 in mortgage payments. With a deal like this, how could they resist?

Decorating Allowance:
Offer buyers cold hard cash for upgrades, such as new carpet and a new paint job. With good negotiating techniques you could be able to get your client's asking price while providing the buyer the special touches they are looking for in a new home. Adding those new plantation shutters they so badly wanted could be all that it takes to seal the deal without having to come down on price.

Yearlong HOA Fees:
The cost of monthly HOA fees often is only thing holding back a potential buyer from achieving the cash power to purchase his first condo. Rather than dropping the asking price, why not relieve them of expensive homeowner's dues for the first year? This creative negotiation technique could be just what it takes to get a first-time buyer into his/her first townhome or condo.

Pay Off Bills:
Paying off a few of the buyers bills might be all that is needed to allow a buyer to qualify for a mortgage to buy your client's home rather than having to buy a smaller, less expensive house. Several new loan programs are available that allow sellers to pay off credit cards, auto loans or other sources of debt for the buyer. This simple solution could allow your seller to maintain his/her asking price while still "sweetening the deal" for the buyer.

Pay Relocation Costs:
Moving costs can often be one of the most daunting expenses factoring into the decision to relocate. The costs associated with moving are often the only reason a buyer is holding back from taking the plunge and moving to a new city or state. By offering to pay their relocation costs for them, you are moving them one step closer to the home and lifestyle of their dreams.

Buy Down Points to Lower the Interest Rate:
Sell the "deal," not the house. You can always drop your asking price, but in reality this doesn't help the buyer nearly as much as cash back at the settlement table. For many buyers it is all about the monthly payment. For every $10,000 you drop on a loan at 6 percent interest, the buyer only saves $60 a month on their mortgage payment. Is that really that enticing? As an alternative, try coaxing them to meet your price but offering to buy down their interest rates with front-end points paid by the seller. A buyer who gets $7,500 on the table is going to be a lot more excited than one who's price dropped $10,000. Think of it this way. If you are about to take a hit on the asking price of the home, it might as well provide a real benefit for the purchaser.

Pay Closing Costs:
This old standby is common for a reason: it's reliable and it works! This may not be as fancy as the other techniques described above, but it is a time-tested solution that often offers exactly the incentive needed for a buyer to sign on the bottom line.

Source: Inman News. Authored by Howard Brinton

Friday, July 28, 2006

Cost of Living Here

How does the cost of living in Bradenton compare with other areas? That was the subject of a recent newspaper article.

Bradenton is slightly above the national average in an index-report charting the cost-of-living in 297 urban areas. With a national average score of 100, Bradenton came in with a score of 101.2.

Other rankings include:
New York 201.2 (the highest)
San Francisco 170.6
Los Angeles 158.2
Philadelphia 124.0
Chicago 111.9

Closer to home:
Sarasota 107.7
Vero Beach-Indian River 102.4
Bradenton 101.2
St. Petersburg- Clearwater 100.2
Punta Gorda-Charlotte County 98.0

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Steep Drop in Florida Home Market

Here's a CNN article on the Florida market.

Steep drop in Florida home market

House sales and prices in the Sunshine State have ceased their steep upward run.

By Les Christie, staff writer
July 26 2006: 5:37 PM EDT

NEW YORK ( -- House hunters in Florida, where some of the hottest markets have been found in recent years, have taken a vacation from buying.

June sales volume was down nearly 30 percent statewide - 18,089 homes were sold in the month, according to figures released this week by the Florida Association of Realtors. Condo sales volume fared even worse, down 35 percent to 5,421.

Nationwide, the National Association of Realtors reported Tuesday, sales volume dropped 8.2 percent.

Prices in Florida have flattened as well. Year-over-year prices rose just 3 percent last month, to a median of $257,800. That was after years of consistent annual gains in the double digits - home prices have nearly doubled during the past five years.

Condo prices actually fell in June, to $212,500 from $215,700.

Some of Florida's erstwhile hottest markets experienced steep sales volume declines.

Naples, where the median single family house sells for $451,500, had a 48 percent drop in unit sales. Prices were down 8 percent.

The Sarasota metro area had a 40 percent fall in sales volume and a 3 percent drop in prices. West Palm Beach-Boca Raton sales volume dropped 39 percent, and prices were flat.

Major condo markets hit hard with sales volume declines included Tampa, down 47 percent, and Miami and Fort Lauderdale, both down 31 percent. Some smaller markets really took it on the chin - Punta Gorda logged just three condo sales, a 97 percent drop.

With mortgage rates for a 30-year fixed at about 6.8 percent, according to Freddie Mac, the monthly costs of buying a home have increased significantly in the past year. Rates were at about 5.58 percent last year. On a $200,000 30-year mortgage, that's a difference of about $158 a month.

Property insurance costs in Florida also skyrocketed on the heels of the disastrous hurricane season in 2005. Nearly 98 percent of Florida's population lives in coastal areas, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and insurance rates have risen to reflect their vulnerability to storm damage.

And soaring energy costs have made it much more expensive to air-condition that home and to operate a car, leaving fewer dollars to pay for real estate.

The shift to a buyer's market in Florida reflects a national trend, and it's one that many experts indicate could last for a few years.

Is America's Florida honeymoon over?

See the latest home prices from all around the nation.

This is exactly what we have been telling our listing clients. Holding on to the price you "want" could be devastating in the long run. It's best to reduce your price now and get the home sold while you can.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Realtors Now Praying For Sales!

Today's front page headline in The Herald reads, "Holy home sales! Realtors seek divine intervention".

The story tells about local Bradenton, Florida agents holding prayer meetings "hoping the power of prayer may help turn around the ailing real estate market."

Read the whole article here:

What do you think? Feel free to post a comment here.

Home Sales, Prices Down

The Herald ran the following story today:

Home sales, prices down

Herald Staff Writer

Existing home sales in the Bradenton-Sarasota market took a 40 percent tumble in June, and the median sales price fell $10,000 from a year ago.

Bradenton-Sarasota was one of seven Florida markets to see prices falter, while areas like Gainesville and neighboring Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater continued to see double digit appreciation, according to figures released Tuesday by the Florida Association of Realtors.

Even with falling prices, Bradenton-Sarasota remained the fifth most expensive place to purchase a home in Florida, with the median price settling at $326,800. Statewide, the median was $257,800.

Real estate officials say the rising cost of insurance, higher taxes, higher fuel costs and escalating interest rates are just some of the reasons for the sales slump.

Unrest in the Middle East also has had an effect, said Dan Forbes, broker and co-owner of Premier Team Realty.

"It effects people psychologically. Markets, even the housing market, doesn't like uncertainty," Forbes said.

The market isn't all doom and gloom, however. The number of homes being put on the market seems to have leveled off, leading some to think the worst may be over.

"We're starting to see that we're reaching the top of the inventory cycle. If it decreases throughout the rest of the year, it'll stabilize the market," Forbes said.

Most Overpriced Home Markets

Today, released this article:

Most overpriced home markets
100 markets ranked. See which are still overpriced and which are just about right.

By Les Christie, staff writer
July 26 2006: 12:29 PM EDT

NEW YORK ( -- After years of local home markets getting more and more overvalued, the trend has reversed, according to an analyis published this week.

Each quarter, Local Market Monitor, which provides research to the real estate industry, assesses 100 markets, comparing selling prices to "equilibrium" values. Company president Ingo Winzer bases those values on local economic and population growth, construction costs, vacancy rates, household income in the area and interest rates.

The number of overpriced markets in the first quarter, defined as having a median home price more than 15 percent higher than equilibrium, fell by two to 38. In the prior quarter, the number of overvalued markets had climbed to 40 from 37.

Winzer says that 56 of the 100 markets he covers are now fairly priced, up from 54 last quarter.
The median home, however, is still overpriced by an average of more than 14 percent, Winzer judges, and homes in many markets are still way too high. This matters because those markets have much more potential for the kind of steep decline that could be disastrous for homeowners - and the local economy.

On Tuesday, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that sales fell for third straight month in June -- it also said that the market had finally shifted from a seller's market to a buyer's market.

By Winzer's figuring, Santa Barbara is the most overpriced housing market in the nation (see table below). The median home there costs $567,300, 80 percent more than it should.
Naples, Fla. is a close second - the median home there will set a buyer back $417,400, 74 percent above equilibrium. Will Naples pass Santa Barbara as No. 1? Prices there rose 38 percent during the past year versus just 11 percent in Santa Barbara.

The nation's most undervalued real estate market is Fayetteville, N.C. At a median price of $175,800, the median house costs 21 percent below equilibrium.

Texas has some of the best bargains around. McAllen homes cost a median of $123,200, 19 percent undervalued. Among the bigger cities, Dallas (-14 percent), Houston (-14 percent) and San Antonio (-8 percent) all have great buys.

For a copy of the 100 markets ranked send an email to results @
and put "100 Markets" in the subject line.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

NAR Report: Sales Flattening, Prices Cooling

Existing-Home Sales Flattening, Prices Cooling

– NARWASHINGTON (July 25, 2006) – Existing-home sales were down modestly in June, and home prices were up slightly from a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Total existing-home sales – including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – declined 1.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of 6.62 million units in June from an upwardly revised level of 6.71 million May. Last month’s sales were 8.9 percent below the 7.27 million-unit pace in June 2005.

David Lereah, NAR’s chief economist, said the housing market is flattening-out. “Over the last three months home sales have held in a narrow range, easing to a level that is near our annual projection, which tells us the market is stabilizing,” he said. “At the same time, sellers have recognized that they need to be more competitive in their pricing given the rise in housing inventories. Home prices are only a little higher than a year ago.”

The national median existing-home price2 for all housing types was $231,000 in June, up 0.9 percent from June 2005 when the median was $229,000. The median is a typical market price where half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

“The change in price performance is directly tied to housing inventories – a year ago we had a lean supply of homes and a sellers’ market, with monthly home sales at an all-time record high,” Lereah said.

Total housing inventory levels rose 3.8 percent at the end of June to 3.73 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 6.8-month supply at the current sales pace. By contrast, in June 2005, there was a tight 4.4-month supply on the market.

NAR President Thomas M. Stevens from Vienna, Va., said opportunities have opened for home buyers. “People who were discouraged by the bidding wars that were so common over the last few years are finding more choices now,” said Stevens, senior vice president of NRT Inc. “Relative to the five-year housing boom, this year is a buyer’s market in much of the country with plentiful supply, along with interest rates which remain historically favorable, so it’s a good time to buy a home.”

Read the entire article at:

Monday, July 24, 2006

Manatee vs Sarasota

Manatee and Sarasota Counties have grown up side by side. Manatee is located just north of Sarasota and just south of Tampa Bay. Here's a look at some interesting facts.

Manatee; Sarasota
Population: 306,779; 367,867
Square Miles: 740; 620
Registered Republicans: 86,698; 116,808
Registered Democrats: 64,076; 76,783
Starbucks: 4; 8
Golfcourses: 29; 40
Public School Students: 41,898; 41, 752
Starting teache salary: $35,000; $35,190
Births (2004): 3,496; 2,935
Hospitals: 4; 4
Median Home Price: $302,000; $352,700

Source: Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau; Sarasota County Government, plus others.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Sales Down, Prices Up - What does it mean?

Today's local paper carried this story:

Manatee home market cooling off

Herald Staff Writer

"MANATEE - Even though 52 percent-fewer single-family homes were sold in Manatee County in June than a year ago, the median price stubbornly pushed upward, hitting $327,000.

"I think we will end up with a 12- to 15-percent appreciation in single-family prices - compared to the 25- to 30-percent appreciations in 2005," Dale Friedley of the Manatee County Property Appraiser's office said Friday in his release of the latest sales figures.

"Local real estate agents called the report confirmation that the market has returned to a more normal tempo, even though they have some concerns.

Continue reading the article at:

How can we be in a strong buyer's market and have rising prices? It isn't supposed to work that way.

Here's what's happening. The figures supplied by the County Property Appraiser's office includes new construction as well as re-sales. Take in account the "incentives and kick-backs" the builders are building into the sales price and the picture is a bit different.

For example, every month I produce a report of our re-sale activity as reported through our local Multiple Listing Service. The numbers show that the median sale price has actually pulled back to the same level as it was in 2005 and about 8 percent below the high of 2005.

If you are thinking of selling don't think you can add 10 percent to last year's value. Buyer's just won't pay that today. You can see that by all the for sale signs the linger for months and months.

My partner and I are experts in the local market. We know what's happening in your neighborhood and would be happy to consult with you.

-Dan Forbes

Friday, July 21, 2006

For Nudists: Read This

Did the headline capture your attention? Here's a curious article:

Nudist Housing Niche Shows No Sign of Slowing

Much of the real estate near St. Petersburg, Fla., has been selling slowly, but there’s one niche hasn’t been hit by the slowdown — nudist resort housing.

Paradise Lakes nudist resort put 39 new 1,167-square-foot condominiums up for sale late last year for $200,000 each. The units aren’t scheduled for completion until October, but all 36 are sold.

Property at the Oasis, a 28-home gated community for those who prefer life in the buff, doesn’t turn over often. In the last 12 months only one home has changed hands – an 1,800-square foot property sold for $360,000.

"The slowdown really didn't worry us," said Joe Lettelleir, Paradise Lakes' owner. "We are fortunate that we are somewhat insulated from the mainstream market.

Source: St. Petersburg Times, Chuin-Wei Yap (07/16/2006)

How to Buy a House or Condo Right

Today's post is about how to buy a house or condo profitably. The article below was written by Robert Bruss and contains good advice.

"I can't believe the mortgage company approved me to buy a condo in such bad shape." That's what I overheard a young lady tell her breakfast date at the coffee shop I like to visit on Saturday mornings. The place is always very busy. The tables are close together so it's hard not to overhear conversations at the adjoining tables.

Burying my head in the newspaper, I then heard her say, "But my dad remodels kitchens so I know he will make it a beauty." I wanted to tell the guy, "Marry her, she's on her way to a real estate fortune." But I kept quiet and looked away.

Then she went through a list of condo fix-up work she plans to make, such as fresh paint, new carpets and several decorating ideas. At that point, the guy changed the topic. If they marry, she will obviously be the real estate tycooness in that family.

HOW TO FIND A PROFITABLE HOUSE OR CONDO. If you are a typical house or condo buyer, you probably want to purchase a new or resale residence in near-perfect, "model home," move-in condition. That's fine.

But expect to pay full retail market value. That is not the way to make a profitable home purchase.

If you want to profit from your home purchase, as that young lady will, buy a house or condo needing profitable improvements. Extreme cases are called "fixer-uppers."

To be polite, some listing agents call them "tired homes." Having bought and sold many profitable residences over 40-plus years of investing, here are my top five criteria for buying a profitable house or condo:

1. ASK HOW MUCH THE SELLER PAID. The longer I'm involved with real estate investing, the more important I think this key question is. I wish I started asking it many years ago when purchasing investment properties.

Even if you find a house or condo in excellent condition, before making a purchase offer, ask your buyer's agent, "How much did the seller pay for this home?"

Most buyers don't ask this vital question. Your buyer's agent might be shocked. Just explain the reason you need to know is to discover how much negotiation room the seller has so you can buy the property. Your agent will be thrilled to learn you plan to make a purchase offer.

For example, if you learn the seller paid $100,000 for the property many years ago, and the comparable home sales prices in the vicinity indicate it is worth $300,000 today, that seller has lots of negotiation room. However, if your buyer's agent checks the public records and discovers the seller paid $250,000 for that house last year, the seller doesn't have much negotiation room for you to buy a profitable house at a below-market purchase price.

2. ASK WHY THE SELLER IS SELLING. This is a controversial question for a home buyer to ask. Only the smartest buyers dare ask it. Knowing the seller's true motivation for selling is critical if you are to buy a profitable house or condo.

Often the listing agent doesn't know the answer. Be sure to communicate to your buyer's agent, who will then tell the listing agent, "I need to know so my buyer can make a purchase offer that meets the seller's needs."

Sometimes, you won't be told the truth. For example, if the reason for the home sale is a divorce, the listing agent might be reluctant to reveal that fact. However, I've found that to be important information so I can make a purchase offer providing cash to satisfy both sellers.

Or, if you learn the home is in foreclosure and the lender has scheduled a foreclosure sale in three weeks, you better be prepared to purchase fast before the seller loses the house.

I recall one situation several years ago where I asked the nasty listing agent why the sellers were selling a home I really wanted to buy for my personal residence. He arrogantly replied, "It's none of your business. Just bring a cash offer."

Not wanting to do business with him, I never made a purchase offer on that house. Later, I learned the sellers were very wealthy and were retiring to Palm Springs. I could have made a low-down-payment offer and they probably would have carried back a mortgage on very attractive terms.

3. LOOK FOR "THE RIGHT THINGS WRONG." This used to be my primary criteria for buying a house or condo at a bargain below-market purchase price. Although this reason is still ultra-important, it is no longer as important as the first two criteria.

That condo buyer who sat at the table next to mine a few weeks ago, understood this rule even if she didn't have it on her profitability list. By purchasing a condo needing a kitchen renovation, she was acquiring an almost instant profit opportunity, especially since her father is in the kitchen remodeling business.

"The right things wrong" mean profit opportunities. Often, all that is needed are a coat of paint and new wall-to-wall carpets. Additional profitable examples include new light fixtures, new appliances, fresh landscaping, and bathroom updating.

Examples of the "wrong things wrong" or unprofitable improvements include a new roof, foundation repairs, new plumbing or wiring, and new windows. The reason these obviously necessary updates are unprofitable is they add less market value to the home than they cost.

4. DEDUCT FROM MARKET VALUE FOR THE COST OF REPAIRS. Most sellers of houses and condos are well aware if their home needs repairs or updating to current market value standards. There are two ways for buyers to handle this.

One is to offer a low purchase price to compensate for the obviously necessary repairs. However, such an approach often upsets the seller who doesn't realize how much it will cost to bring their home up to neighborhood standards.

A better approach is to offer close to current market value, based on recent sales prices of nearby comparable houses or condos, but then list and ask for credits for necessary repairs, such as a new roof, foundation repairs, landscaping, and new plumbing or wiring. This method is often more effective because the seller then realizes all the work their "fixer-upper" needs.

5. ASK THE SELLER FOR AFFORDABLE FINANCING. Although home mortgage financing is easily available today, you might be able to do better in the right circumstances by asking the seller to carry back a mortgage for you. This can be especially valuable if the seller owns the home free and clear with no mortgage, you plan to immediately renovate the house to increase its market value, and you expect to refinance or sell the home after the improvements are completed.

To illustrate, if you offer a retiree seller a 5.5 percent interest rate on a carryback mortgage, that's better for you than is easily available at the local bank. However, be sure there is no prepayment penalty so you can refinance when you complete renovations to increase the home's market value.

As the old saying goes, "It doesn't hurt to ask." There is no easier mortgage lender than the home seller. My experience is retirees are especially anxious to finance home sales because they usually can't obtain such a high yield with the safety of a mortgage on their former residence if you fail to make the payments and they have to foreclose. By obtaining easy seller financing, you just increased your purchase profit even more.

SUMMARY: If you ask the right questions, your house or condo purchase can become a profitable investment. Whether you plan to keep your home purchase a short time or for many years, look for the "right things wrong" and the extra bonus profit opportunities, such as seller carryback mortgage financing.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Can you afford to live in Bradenton - Sarasota , Florida?

Today's local paper, The Herald, ran the following story about home affordability in the Bradenton - Sarasota area.

MANATEE - Few workers make the six-figure income needed to afford a median-priced home in Manatee and Sarasota counties, an affordable-housing coalition said Tuesday.

A person needs to make at least $109,248 a year to afford a home at December's median sales price of $322,700, the Florida Housing Coalition said in its first Florida Priced Out Report. But none of the 63 local occupations the coalition studied, including teachers, firefighters and police officers, paid even remotely close to that.

"It's just further proof that our work force is rapidly being priced out of the market with the way home prices are going," said Michael Davis, the coalition's executive director.

Based on the income requirement, Manatee/Sarasota's housing market was the fifth least-affordable among the 18 Florida metropolitan areas the coalition studied. Only those in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Naples and West Palm Beach had to earn more in order to afford a median-priced home in their communities.

At the opposite end, the Ocala, Pensacola and Tallahassee metro areas were the most affordable.

The situation was somewhat better for Manatee/Sarasota renters, who had to make $21.06 an hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment at the market rate of $1,095 a month. That ranked the region's rental market as the state's seventh least-affordable, with some workers having to work more than 100 hours per week to afford that apartment.

The results didn't surprise local affordable-housing advocates.

"This report shows that all of our service personnel, our work force in general, is in trouble," said Suzie Dobbs, the county's affordable/work-force housing coordinator. "They simply can't find housing at prices they can get a mortgage for."

For example, a Manatee/Sarasota elementary school teacher making $44,199 a year would qualify for a maximum mortgage of $131,255 - more than $191,000 short of what's needed to close on a median-priced home, the state coalition's report said.

Even construction managers, the two-county region's top-paying occupation in the coalition report, don't make enough to be able to completely mortgage a median-priced home.

As a result, a growing number of middle-income workers are seeking financial help from various government programs to buy a home, Dobbs said.

Ryan Wilkins was one of them. Despite working two jobs after moving to Bradenton from more-expensive New Jersey, he struggled for two years to find an affordable place to buy.

"It was pretty hard to find anything in my price range," he said. "I couldn't find anything that was decent . . . it did get very, very discouraging."

He ultimately bought a condominium unit with financial assistance from the county's affordable-housing program.

But it and similar housing-assistance programs are being stretched by stagnant funding and greater demand, officials said.

The $1.7 million Manatee received from the state's Housing Trust Fund this fiscal year was gone in just seven months, said Denise Thomas, the county's housing and community development coordinator. That will grow to $2.3 million in the coming fiscal year, the maximum allowed under a state cap that has generated a huge surplus in the trust fund.

"There's money sitting there that we can't get to," Thomas said. "We would get two to three times more money and be able to help even more people if the cap wasn't there."

A lobbying effort by affordable-housing advocates failed to get the cap removed in the last state legislative session, but Davis hopes the new study will provide more ammunition in the next session.

"I think it'll help make the problem more real, especially to our legislators," he said.

Herald Staff Writer

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Lakefront Home for Rent - Palmetto , Florida

Less than one year old this lakefront home in Northwood Park is super sweet. It's the Carriage House II built by Bruce Williams with 1604 S.F. of living area. It has beautiful ceramic tile in the Living/Family Rooms, Kitchen, Hall, and Baths. Beautiful carpeted bedrooms. Sliding glass doors open to the screened lanai which overlooks the backyard and large peaceful lake.

Nice community park nearby. $1395.00 Monthly

Near I-75 & I-275. Convenient to the Outlet Mall in Ellenton and easy access to Bradenton, St. Pete, Tampa, and Sarasota.


Call Dan Forbes at 941-713-5760

Monday, July 17, 2006

Less FSBO's Are Successful

Each year a small army of home sellers throw caution to the wind and “go it alone” – without the assistance of a licensed real estate professional.

This ever-decreasing band of risk-takers, ventures into the land of pricing, marketing, screening, scheduling, showing and paperwork, with the goal of saving some money. It's often an experience they find less than rewarding.

The numbers (if not the sellers) tell the story.

Last year, 13 percent of all sellers chose the FSBO (“For Sale By Owner”) route, according to NAR’s 2005 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. This is down from about 18 percent eight years ago. But more telling than the decline in FSBOs is the fact that more than a third of all FSBOs sold their homes to someone they knew prior to the transaction. This means that only 8 percent of all home sales are arm's-length FSBO transactions.

Only half of last year’s FSBOs say they plan to go it alone again, so expect to see these numbers go down even further in the years ahead.

Several factors appear to account for the decline in for-sale-by-owners: the increasing complexity of the transaction process, with more disclosures and legal requirement than ever before; the amount of time required to market and show property; and security concerns about the motivation of strangers dealing directly with owners and walking through their homes.

And, getting back to the money part – after all is said and done, FSBOs don’t always come out with fatter wallets. Again, the numbers tell the truth.

Sellers make more money when they use a real estate professional.

Homes sold with the help of a real estate professional last year sold on average for 16 percent more than FSBO sales. The median FSBO selling price in 2005 was $198,000, compared with $230,000 for agent-assisted transactions.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Mortgage Rates Down


For the first time in five weeks, rates on 30-year mortgages declined this week to 6.74 percent amid expectations that the Federal Reserve won't push interest rates much higher.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Homes Sales Stabilizing

I received this news report yesterday from Planet Realtor:

"WASHINGTON -- July 12, 2006 -- Home sales are projected to ease modestly but should stay within a relatively narrow range over the balance of the year, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

"David Lereah, NAR’s chief economist, says the market shows signs of stabilizing. "The major housing indicators have been moving up and down within a reasonable range, which means the market should even-out just below present levels," he says. "At the same time, housing inventory levels are balanced in much of the country, so overall price appreciation will be at a normal rate. We should see home sales rise and fall month to month, but don’t look for any big shifts one way or the other.

"...NAR President Thomas M. Stevens says consumers who have been on the sidelines should feel more confident about the market normalization."

Even our Bradenton - Sarasota , Florida market seems to be showing some sign of stabilization. Sellers are becoming more realistic about pricing and buyers are recoginizing the bargains that are out there.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Home For Rent in Bradenton - Florida

Nice and clean 3BR/2BA home with 2 car garage in desirable Rivers Edge subdivision near Tara Subdivision off of Linger Lodge Road. This home was built in 2001 with a combination living room/dining room and screened lanai overlooking the fenced backyard.

There are no neighbors behind which provides plenty of privacy. Rivers Edge is a newer small neighborhood with a nice neighborhood park.

Near Tara Elementary School. Near S.R. 70 and I-75.

FREE Moving Truck for local move.

$1395.00 Monthly.

Contact Dan Forbes at 941-713-5760

Most believe it's a good time to buy in Florida

A new survey finds that 58 percent of Florida homeowners think the value of their homes in their community will continue to rise over the next 12 months, despite indications that the state’s unprecedented five-year housing boom is waning.

The annual survey, commissioned by Florida-based Attorneys’ Title Insurance Fund’s Consumer Education Campaign, polled more than 1,000 homeowners throughout the state between May and June 2006.

Floridians are split in their views about whether now is a good or a bad time to buy Florida real estate (each 42 percent), but residents in select regions like Orlando (43 percent), Sarasota County (53 percent) and West Palm Beach (49 percent) are slightly more likely to believe that now is a good time to buy a home than regions such as Broward County (39 percent), Miami-Dade (34 percent) and Tampa (42 percent).

Friday, July 07, 2006

How to Handle Bad Neighbors

If the owners of the house next door throw wild parties every weekend and have painted the front door DayGlo orange, who are you going to call?

Money magazine has these suggestions for taming the nightmare next door:

Make the right call. For noise issues, call the police. If their dogs run loose, let the animal control department know. If the lawn is littered with political signs, call the zoning board. As for that DayGlo orange door, unless there’s a homeowners' association with rules against such things, there may be no recourse.

Be nice. Asking politely is more likely to get results than shouting.

Use a community mediation center. There are 500 such centers in the United States, according to the National Association for Community Mediation.

Go to court. If the neighbor did something like deliberately destroying a fence, take the matter to small claims court, which is inexpensive and doesn’t require a lawyer.

Source: Money, Sarah Max (06/28/06)

Forclosures Are Back

Today's Sarasota Herald Tribune ran an article about local investors buying homes from distressed home sellers.

In the first quarter, Florida had more foreclosures than any state except Texas. A lot of homeowners who opted for adjustable rate mortgages during recent years are shocked to see their payments leap by hundreds of dollars.

Investors provide solutions by offering the homeowner a way of disposing of the property while saving their credit.

Read the story at

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Is now a good time to buy real estate?

Here's the results of a survey of homeowners...

Florida homeowners are cautiously optimistic about their state's real estate market, with most believing their homes' values will rise in the next year, but showing mixed views on whether now is a good time to buy, according to a new survey.

Fifty-eight percent of Florida homeowners responding to the survey said they think the value of homes in their community will rise over the next 12 months, despite indications that the state's five-year housing boom is waning.

Home sales in Florida fell 24 percent in May from the previous year, according to the Florida Association of Realtors, and median home prices were up 11 percent from the same month last year.

Florida homeowners were split about whether now is a good time to buy real estate: 42 percent said now is a good time to buy and 42 percent said now is a bad time to buy, according to the survey. Seventy-one percent cited affordability as an obstacle to purchasing a home.

Hurricanes were still on homeowners' minds, with 47 percent of respondents saying they were concerned about being hit by a storm. Sixteen percent of homeowners cite the impact of a housing bubble as their biggest concern, even fewer cite rising mortgage interest rates (13 percent), depreciating home values (5 percent), or becoming the victim of real estate fraud (1 percent) as their biggest real estate concern in Florida.

In other findings, 41 percent of respondents said that understanding real estate laws is the most confusing part of buying a home. Other confusing aspects of the home-buying process included understanding the closing process and paperwork involved.

The annual survey of more than 1,000 Florida homeowners was commissioned by Florida-based Attorneys Title Insurance Fund, a title insurance underwriter.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Current Market Conditions Report - Bradenton

We have just completed our Current Market Conditions report for June's sales in our local multiple listing service.

Total Single Family Home Listings: 3952 - Up 506% over last year.
Total Expired/Withdrawn Listings: 709
Total Solds: 240 -Down 42.3%
Median Sales Price: $319,100 - Up 1.6% over last year, but down 8.8% from last year's high
Absorption Rate: 8.7 months. This is how long it would take to sell all of today's listings at the rate homes are selling and if no other homes were listed.
Average Days on Market: 72- Up about 100%

The Bradenton, Florida market is still in a correction mode and struggling to hit bottom and stabilize. Listings were still up in June but went up at the lowest rate since June 2005. That's good news. It's disappointing to see June's sale down from the previous month. We were hoping for improving numbers.

The most serious concern is the absorption rate of 8.7 months. The low of 2005 was 1.6 months in April. Our market is flooded with listed homes that aren't selling.

We also have 42.3% less buyers today than a year ago. As a results we are seeing prices fall to a point that homes are selling at about the same price they sold one year ago.

For an email copy of this report broken down by price ranges just contact me at and ask for the Market Conditions Report.

(Watch this BLOG for the Condo report soon to be released)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

History of the Fourth of July

Taxation without representation! That was the battle cry of the 13 colonies in America that were forced to pay taxes to England's King George III with no representation in Parliament. As dissatisfaction grew, British troops were sent in to quell any signs of rebellion, and repeated attempts by the colonists to resolve the crisis without war proved fruitless.

On June 11, 1776, the colonies' Second Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia formed a committee with the express purpose of drafting a document that would formally sever their ties with Great Britain.

The committee included Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston. The document was crafted by Jefferson, who was considered the strongest and most eloquent writer. (Nevertheless, a total of 86 changes were made to his draft.) The final version was officially adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4.

The following day, copies of the Declaration of Independence were distributed and, on July 6, The Pennsylvania Evening Post became the first newspaper to print the extraordinary document.

The Declaration of Independence has since become our nation's most cherished symbol of liberty.

Bonfires and Illuminations
On July 8, 1776, the first public readings of the Declaration were held in Philadelphia's Independence Square to the ringing of bells and band music. One year later, on July 4, 1777, Philadelphia marked Independence Day by adjourning Congress and celebrating with bonfires, bells and fireworks.

The custom eventually spread to other towns, both large and small, where the day was marked with processions, oratory, picnics, contests, games, military displays and fireworks.

Observations throughout the nation became even more common at the end of the War of 1812 with Great Britain.

On June 24, 1826, Thomas Jefferson sent a letter to Roger C. Weightman, declining an invitation to come to Washington, D.C., to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. It was the last letter that Jefferson, who was gravely ill, ever wrote.

In it, Jefferson says of the document:
"May it be to the world, what I believe it will be ... the signal of arousing men to burst the chains ... and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form, which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. ... For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them."

Congress established Independence Day as a holiday in 1870, and in 1938 Congress reaffirmed it as a holiday, but with full pay for federal employees. Today, communities across the nation mark this major midsummer holiday with parades, fireworks, picnics and the playing of the "Star Spangled Banner" and marches by John Philip Sousa.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Money Magazine Predicts 6.2% Appreciation for Bradenton

Money Magazine predicts a 6.2% appreciation rate for the Bradenton - Sarasota - Venice market for 2006 -2007.

Over the last 5 years our local market has enjoyed 132.7% appreciation and although slowing, the future looks bright.

Naysayers should know that the worst historical year for home prices in our market was -5% in 1982.


Neighboring Property Values Up 20 Percent

From the Tampa Tribune:

TAMPA - Property values rose to unprecedented levels this year in Hillsborough County, setting a record for the biggest single-year leap in taxable property dollar-value in the county's history.

Values for homes and businesses rose an average of about 20 percent compared with last year. Traditionally, yearly increases have been closer to 8 percent.

"It's just amazing," said Tim Wilmath, Hillsborough County property appraiser's director of valuation.

Experts attribute the increase to this year's hot real estate market, spurred in part by low interest rates.

(Read more at )

Some buyers in the Sarasota - Bradenton market are a little nervous about the rapid appreciation rate over the last few years. One buyer wrote in a recent blog that he was going to rent and wait for prices to pull back 35 - 40 percent. Is such an attitude realistic? I doubt it. This area has good job growth and a strong economy which has fueled the recent buyer demand.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

More People Adding Real Estate to Portfolios

The Federal Reserve estimates that individuals, rather than corporations, are now landlords for roughly 60% of the nation’s rental units.

Rising home appreciation rates in many areas of the country have attracted investors, who might otherwise have put their money into stocks and bonds. In addition, more real estate brokers are specializing in income properties, making it easier for individuals to find and purchase suitable rental units.

If you’re thinking about real estate as an investment, be aware that you may not see a positive cash flow until a few years down the road. With a well-chosen investment, however, the rent you are able to charge will eventually exceed your mortgage payments and other costs, generating monthly income. Although there’s no guarantee, of course, the value of your rental property is also likely to increase over time. Before making an investment decision, be sure to follow these tips:

*Check the market to ensure local rental vacancy rates are favorable.
*Consider starting small, with a single-family unit or double, to get your feet wet as a landlord.
*Shop close to home. Even if you hire someone to manage the property for you, chances are you’ll need to visit it occasionally.
*Check the property thoroughly.
*Hire an inspector.

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