Bradenton Florida Real Estate News

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Bradenton - Sarasota Home Sales Up 5%

From today's Bradenton Herald...

"In February, the consumer appetite for buying single-family homes and condos in the Bradenton-Sarasota market rose 5 percent from a year earlier.

"While that may sound like only a modest gain, Bradenton-Sarasota outperformed every other market in Florida, except one. Statewide, the sales of existing homes were down 23 percent, according to the Florida Association of Realtors.

"Only Panama City, where sales were up 21 percent, outperformed Bradenton-Sarasota.Statewide, sale prices continued to slide from precipitous heights a year ago.

"The median price of a single-family home in Bradenton-Sarasota fell 9 percent compared to last year, resting at $294,500.

"That said, many market observers were saying the market has gone as low as it is going to, and now is a time to buy.

"If you're thinking of buying a house, there's probably not much to be gained by holding out at this point," said Wayne Archer, director of the University of Florida's Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. "It doesn't look like prices are going to fall anymore."

We have certainly noticed more buyers in the market since the beginning of the year. We have sold 25 homes this year!! Perhaps this is the beginning of stabilization in our Bradenton - Sarasota market.

Bradenton Real Estate

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Friday, March 23, 2007

People want to move to Florida

According to Anholt State Brands Index many people say Florida is where they would like to live. Florida makes two of their top five lists.

Top Five Places People Want to Live - U.S. Residents
1. North Carolina
2. Virginia
3. Florida
4. Colorado
5. Oregon

Top Five Places People Want to Live - International Residents
1. California
2. Florida
3. Hawaii
4. New York
5. Washington

Our Bradenton - Sarasota , Florida area has been attractive for years to both U.S. and international residents. Having live here since 1986 I can see why. Our sandy beaches, mild climate, year round recreational opportunies, strong job market, and every convenience one could want is a great asset.

Bradenton Real Estate


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

It's Time to Buy

The National Association of Realtors is running an ad campaign.
This ad says, "Buyer's market, seller's market. Either way, it's an 'I-need-a-Realtor' Market.""Right now rates are low and home choices are plentiful..."
In our Bradenton - Sarasota , Florida market it certainly is true. We have an abundance of homes and condos for sale. Prices have fallen to quite attractive levels. Buyers are starting to re-enter the market.
If you have been thinking of buying, now is an opportune time.
Bradenton Real Estate

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Some buyers having trouble getting a mortgage now

Last week Freddie Mac, the second largest government backed mortgage underwriter, made some significant changes to its underwriting guidelines. Concerned by their potential exposure to non-performing loans as the number of borrowers defaulting is increasing sizably, they tightened the parameters required for Freddie Mac to purchase these loans from the originators. The investors who buy Mortgage Backed Securities on Wall Street are fearful that their portfolio of loans will default and they will be left holding the bag. The shocking statistic I read last week was that almost 50% of the mortgage loans currently held by Freddie Mac would no longer qualify under the new guidelines.

What does all of this mean to you…

Sub-Prime lenders are scrambling to accommodate the new Freddie Mac guidelines. I’ve received multiple notices from lenders whose product lines are being pared down or eliminated to meet the new conditions and demands coming indirectly from Wall Street. A few days ago was news that New Century Mortgage is tittering on the brink of bankruptcy, looking to join competitors who have already closed their doors:
Own it Mortgage - closed its doors
Sebring Mortgage - closed its doors
Axis Mortgage - closed its doors
Oak Street Mortgage - closed its doors
Right Away Mortgage - closed its doors
Secured Funding - closed its doors
Encore Credit - closed its doors
Acoustic Home Loans - closed its doors due to a sudden increase in repurchases
Ampro - gone acquired by United Financial Corp.
Silver Trust - closed it's doors
Freedom Mortgage - not doing 2nd TD's anymore.
Decision One - closed 6 regional centers. Division of Option One.
Mortgage Lender Network (MLN) - "stopped funding residential loans" on 12/29 (they didn't actually say they were closing) but they have closed.
E-loan - announced it will close their sub prime wholesale division
Meritage - Sold to Lime Financial
Mandalay - Closed it Doors
Plus rumors of others struggling financially

Action required…

If you have a transaction which will require Sub Prime lending, my strong recommendation is to consult with your mortgage specialist immediately to confirm the program still exists and if it does, lock it right now before that changes. I know I’ve filtered my pipeline to ensure no one is surprised down the road.



Bradenton Real Estate

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Are you late with your mortgage payment?

Some of our Seller clients are having difficulty making mortgage payments. They are not alone.

Today's paper ran an article saying that late mortgage payment our up to a 3.5 year high. New foreclosures have also surged to record levels.

Read the article here:

Bradenton Real Estate

Monday, March 12, 2007

Sell your home by offering a bigger commission

I was reading the ads of builders in new home developments in the Bradenton , Sarasota area and noticed something. Almost every builder is offering bigger commissions to real estate agents who brings them a buyer.

When it was a Seller's market builders were offering 2-3% to agents. Today's ads show builders offering 4%, 5%, 6% or even 10%. Some are evening offering vacations, cars, and other incentives.

How can the seller of a home or condo compete with that? If you are selling your home you may want to offer more commission than other sellers. This is one way to get agents excited about showing and selling your home.


Bradenton Real Estate


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Hold a garage sale and sell your house

My partner and I have been talking about some "out of the box" ideas to help our listing clients attract a buyer. In talking with others we would like to suggest that sellers hold a garage sale to attract more "eye-balls" and thus more attention to their home for sale.

We have heard of several instances where a sale occurred as a direct result of the garage sale. Not that the garage sale attender bought the home, but seeing the home for sale they told someone else about it. The key is exposure. The more people who know about the home for sale, the greater the opportunity to find the right buyer.

Here's a few suggestions:
1. Do advertise the yard sale to attract a large crowd.
2. You may want to use the words "moving sale" to create attention.
3. Consider asking neighbors to join in the sale, but be sure to hold it at your house. You could then call it a neighborhood sale.
4. Be sure to ask us to send you extra promotional flyers that attenders could have. Be a little agressive and hand a flyer to each attender. Ask for their help.
5. Put out plenty of directional signs on the morning of the sale.
6. If anyone shows and interest or says they know of someone who might like to buy in your neighborhood ask permission for us to contact them. Then call us right away with their name and phone number.
7. Consider putting out Open House signs too. We will be happy to provide the signs for you.

Good luck!

Dan Forbes & Marie Avery
Bradenton Real Estate


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Market Conditions Report Summary
February 2007

(from our study of the Gulf Coast Regional Multiple Listing Service)

Statistics for Single Family Homes
  • Total Listings: 4507 - Up 33% over last year. Up 3.4% from last month.
  • Total Solds: 167 - Down 11% year to year . 96.3% of homes for sale DID NOT SELL in February.
  • Median Sales Price: $ 277,000 – Down 7.3% from last year and down 21% from 2005 high
  • Absorption Rate: 10.6 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: 92 - Up 56% over last year

Statistics for Condos
  • Total Condo Listings: 2230 – Up 67.4% over last year.
  • Total Solds: 43 – Down 14% year to year
  • Median Sales Price: $210,000 – Down 11.5% from a year ago.
  • Absorption Rate: 13.0 months
  • Average Days on Market: 92 – Up 46% over last year

Summary: Gadzooks! No Signs of Stabilization
We see absolutely no signs of stabilization in our Bradenton – Sarasota real estate market. The Inventory has not stabilized, it keeps going up. The Pending Sales have not stabilized, they are down. There has not been a stabilization in closings, they remain low. The absoption rate has moved ever so slightly from an 11.0 month supply of homes on the market to a 10.6 supply, no stabilization here.

Prices continue to fall with 1058 price reductions during the month of February. The last two months has seen over 2100 price reductions. For the year there has been 9,747 price reductions!

The mistake most Sellers are making is reducing their price by too little, too late. In a declining market you must get ahead of the downward curve to sell successfully. If you are serious about selling, your home must be the obvious best value in the area. You must price your home significantly below the competition.

As painful as that may be, it is even more painful to have to drop it even more later.

Attention buyers: this is a great time to buy. Don’t make the mistake of looking back a few years from now and regretting that you failed to take action!
Bradenton Real Estate

Monday, March 05, 2007

More truth about open houses

The weekend open house is a time-honored tradition in real estate sales, but has it outlived its effectiveness? Quite possibly, according to a new survey conducted by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. The survey results hint at the notion that public open houses may be more beneficial for the agents themselves than for the home sellers.

Almost all the agents who responded to the survey (97 percent) had held public open houses, but only 41 percent believe those events help sell the home that's being showcased. Thirty-two percent believe public open houses attract many potential buyers, but nearly three-fourths also believe those buyers are more likely to buy a home other than the one being held open. And 62 percent say most people attending open houses aren't serious buyers at all.

Public open houses also present a security issue for home sellers and agents. "Whether or not to hold an open house is a concern among agents," says Jack Harris, a research economist with the Texas A&M center. "Agents must be on-site for the duration of open houses. Safety is a growing concern because there is no way to know whether a visitor is a serious buyer, just curious or has more sinister motives."

Despite the potential for meeting prospects, many agents find open houses troublesome, dangerous and generally a waste of time. The first lesson for home sellers is: Unless your home is unusual (i.e., difficult to sell), you might want to spend your weekends enjoying your own backyard, rather than turning your home over to your real estate agent. If your agent is gung-ho on public open houses, find out what supplemental marketing efforts (e.g., advertising the open house in a local newspaper) he or she will use to attract serious buyers for your home to the event.

The falling favor of public open houses may be partially attributable to new marketing techniques, including real estate Web sites, cable television infomercials and yard signs that transmit radio messages about the home.
Bradenton Real Estate

The truth about open houses

On five Sundays last fall, Zouheir Farah and Maria Rodriguez rose early, scrubbed and vacuumed, put out fresh flowers and dutifully baked bread so their house would smell homey. Then they left for the afternoon while their real-estate agent held court. "We never questioned it," says Farah, who knows now that the investment of effort never stood much chance of paying off. Their four-bedroom colonial sold after several months to a buyer who had never attended an open house but was brought in by an agent.

As the housing market has slowed in recent years, a great many sellers have discovered a real-estate industry secret: Open houses rarely move houses. In a 1991 survey by the National Association of Realtors, just 3 percent of people who had bought existing homes found them through an open house. Last year, Rebecca Dodd, the Centreville, Va., agent who represented Farah and Rodriguez, didn't sell a single home through an open house, although the 30 or so she held did bring her nine new customers. Says Kay Courtney, a real-estate agent in Grand Rapids, Mich.: "Open houses are real good for me. But as a method of selling homes, they're worthless."

Browsers, no buyers. When serious house hunters are out in force, that may be less true; an open house could bring in a buyer, and if it doesn't you might not notice. But in leaner times, open houses are at best likely to frustrate ("Last year, I got a lot of people saying they were looking to see how the homes were decorated," says Dodd) and, at worst, could hurt your chances of getting the asking price. A house held open frequently can start to look like a loser, making it a prime target for low-ball bidders.

Even under the best of circumstances, open houses should be used judiciously. Unless your house is in a densely populated area, is easily accessible by car or on foot and is visible from the street, you may as well not bother holding open houses at all, says Jacelyn Stretton, a broker with Weichert Realtors in Chester, N.J. Instead, agents for out-of-the-way property owners might try invitation-only showings to homeowners in areas nearby where houses are less or more expensive, and who might thus be potential trade-up or trade-down buyers. Or your broker might direct walk-ins at other open houses your way. At each open house Stretton holds, she keeps a stash of materials on hand about other homes in her inventory at comparable prices.

Source: An Article by Amy Saltzman

Friday, March 02, 2007

Top places to live

American cities continue to be highly regarded by global consumers, with a dozen U.S. cities placing among the top 40 in the 2006 Anholt City Brands Index.

The index is based on a survey of 15,255 adults in 20 countries. Survey respondents were asked to rank 60 cities on nine attributes, ranging from economic and educational opportunity to vibrant lifestyle to amenities.

Internationally, the top 10 cities were: Sydney, London, Paris, Rome, New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Melbourne, Barcelona, and Geneva.

The 12 U.S. cities, along with their ranking, that landed in the top 40 are:
New York City (5)
Washington, D.C. (6)
San Francisco (7)
Los Angeles (15)
Boston (23)
Las Vegas (24)
Seattle (25)
Chicago (27)
Atlanta (28)
Philadelphia (31)
Dallas (38)
New Orleans (39)

U.S. cities generally didn’t rate as high in physical beauty, low pollution, and safety as a number of other international metro areas did. On the other hand, high scores in categories such as business climate, higher education, diversity, and variety of languages spoken added to the U.S. cities’ overall high rankings.

For example, New York was identified as the best place to do business and the easiest city in which to fit in. It ranked third for education. However, it was close to the bottom of list in terms of pollution and cost of living.

New Orleans’ overall low ranking, according to study author Simon Anholt, can be attributed to the widely publicized aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Still, the Big Easy ranks very high in terms of residents’ friendliness.

— By Camilla McLaughlin for REALTOR® Magazine Online
Bradenton Real Estate