Bradenton Florida Real Estate News

Monday, July 30, 2007

“My home isn’t selling. Is it the market?” No, No, No!

It’s not the market that is keeping your home from selling, it’s the price. When the price reaches the point that a buyer is willing to buy, you have then discovered the true market value of your home.

I recently wrote an article to answer the question, “My home isn’t selling; is it my price or my Realtor?” The comments and responses were interesting. One agent wrote that “maybe it’s neither; maybe it’s just the market.”

Let’s think about that. Imagine that your home is listed. It’s in perfect condition and has a great location. Your Realtor is working hard and is using a proven marketing strategy that he or she has used to sell many other homes. The problem is, your home still isn’t selling.

You don’t think it’s the price. Your Realtor doesn’t think it’s the price. In fact, the Realtor states, “It’s just the market; hardly anything is selling in this market.”

I will be so bold as to say that this kind of thinking reflects a misunderstanding of what “the market” really is.

We talk about a “seller’s market” or a “buyer’s market,” but what do we really mean? And, if a home isn’t selling, can it be the market’s fault? A seller’s market simply means there are more buyers than sellers and that those conditions favor the seller. A buyer’s market occurs when there are more sellers than buyers and those conditions favor the buyer.

The market always is what the market is. What a home sells for is the market value of that home. And, we only know the true market value of a home when it sells. Market value is what a buyer is willing to pay. It is no more or no less. This is true in either a seller’s market or a buyer’s market.

Any home will sell today! Let me prove it. Imagine your home is on the market. It’s in the Multiple Listing Service and thereby shared with hundreds and perhaps thousands of agents. It’s also exposed to the public. Let’s suppose you put a price of one dollar ($1.00) on the home. How long do you think it would take for an offer to materialize? It would probably take only minutes or hours.

I’m not suggesting that one dollar is the market value of the home. That’s just an extreme way to show you that price is determined by the market. The true market value of your home is somewhere between one dollar and the price you are asking today.

It’s not the market that is keeping your home from selling, it’s the price. When the price reaches the point that a buyer is willing to buy, you have then discovered the true market value.

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My Home Isn't Selling, Is it My Price or My Realtor?

“My Realtor called to remind me that my home hasn’t sold. He says it’s because my price is too high and that I should drop the price. I think he’s not marketing it as aggressively as he should. Who’s right?”

That’s a question asked by many sellers in today’s real estate market. Actually, it’s a question that’s probably been asked since the beginning of time.

“Hello, Caveman Realty, may I help you?”

“Yes, I want to fire my caveman agent because my cave isn’t selling.”

Surely, that conversation could have occurred.

Let me try to answer the question with which I began. Is it the price, or is it the agent? First, it could be the price. Maybe your agent is right. Perhaps the market just won’t accept the price you are asking for your home.

If the price is too high, all the marketing in the world probably won’t sell it. You see, your home is just a commodity. If the price is right somebody will buy it. If the price is too high, nobody will buy it. That’s not rocket science.

The key is finding out exactly where the price needs to be. How do you do that?

You could interview several experienced agents to collect several price opinions. You could pay for an appraisal from a licensed appraiser (just remember that’s only an opinion too). But the best information is how is the market responding to your price? Are you getting showings? Are you getting offers? If not, your price IS probably too high.

“But no one has even made an offer.”

That’s right. Buyers don’t make offers on overpriced homes. They simply move on to find one that’s reasonably priced. If you fight this concept you are sure to lose. It is a basic truth.

Second, it could be the agent. If your agent doesn’t have a well conceived marketing strategy it certainly could affect the outcome. So, what should you expect from your agent?

Having sold over 1,000 homes here is what I would expect from any good agent:
  • Place the home in the local Multiple Listing Service
  • A professional sign in the yard
  • A brochure box which is kept full at all times
  • Strong internet marketing across multiple web sites
  • Color real estate magazine advertising
  • Open House if the home is located in a high traffic area

Everything else an agent does from networking to other forms of advertising generates very few buyers (no matter what they tell you).

I believe that price is 80 percent of getting the home sold. Marketing makes up the other 20 percent.

Some sellers jump from agent to agent when their home doesn’t sell. But 99 times out of 100 the home doesn’t sell unless the price is adjusted.

So, when your home isn’t selling, there’s a 20 percent chance that your agent’s marketing strategy is flawed and an 80 percent chance that your price is too high.

I'm Dan Forbes and I want to be your Realtor and resource for all Bradenton Real Estate needs.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bradenton - Sarasota Home Sales Up!

Our local paper reported a 5 percent increase in home sales in our Bradenton - Sarasota market. This is good news since other Florida markets continue to face declining sales.

Bradenton - Sarasota sales +5%
Tampa-St. Pete-Clearwater -35%
Punta Gorda -33%
Miami -47%
Fort Myers-Cape Coral -37%
You may read the article here.

I'm Dan Forbes and I want to be your Realtor and resource for all your Bradenton Real Estate needs.

9 Home Staging Tips for a Faster Sale

In conjunction with Lowes we are able the offer these special tips to our clients.The concept may not be new but the term "staging" has taken the real estate industry by storm. Professional stagers can transform a home in a few hours, helping to highlight a home's best features and minimize its flaws.

Surveys show that staging pays off, often boosting a home's selling price by thousands of dollars.

In conjunction with Lowes we are able to offer these special tips to our clients. To receive these FREE tips by email send an email request to with simply the word "staging tips" in the subject line.


I'm Dan Forbes and I want to be your Realtor and resource for all your Bradenton Real Estate needs.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

New Listing in Northwood Park, Palmetto, Florida


New Listing in Rivers Edge - Bradenton, Florida


Monday, July 23, 2007

Is there any good news in our Bradenton real estate market?

A prospect wrote to me by email today, "It would be nice to see some positive news about the real estate market in Florida."

I gave him a call to let him know there's no good news yet. Most are growing weary with the bad news.

Then I read this today: "The U.S. housing market isn’t going to get any better this year, says David Berson, vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae.

"Berson expects new and existing home sales to decline by 10.2 percent in 2007 to the lowest level since 2002. Single-family starts are expected to fall 21.7 percent....He predicts that 2006 and 2007 will together show the largest drop in sales since the housing slowdown of 1989-1991.

"Berson says it will take until 2008 before unsold inventories have fallen enough to relieve downward pressure on house prices. Source: Reuters News (07/18/2007)"
I'm Dan Forbes and I want to be your Realtor and resource for all your Bradenton Real Estate needs.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Home Prices Continue to Fall in Bradenton - Sarasota

I just found this on MSN real estate

"A new report projects home-price declines for the next two years. The riskiest markets are in Florida, California, Nevada and Arizona. Here's how to ride out the hard times.

"As if the housing market isn't bleak enough. The Standard & Poors' Case-Shiller Home Price Index reported in late June that home prices dropped more in the first quarter of this year than at any other quarter in the last 17 years. Now, a report from PMI Mortgage Insurance says home values could decline across much of the country for at least two more years.

"There's a 34.6% chance on average that home prices will drop in the nation's top 50 markets in the next couple of years, according to PMI Mortgage Insurance's new U.S. Market Risk Index, which heavily factors in recent price volatility.

"How far and how fast prices actually fall remains to be seen. But the report underscores the fact that today's market is decidedly different from that of recent years, when homeowners could bank on rapid home-value appreciation."

This is the news we are sharing with our sellers today. If you think the price on your home is below your comfort level today, just wait until next year.

I'm Dan Forbes and I want to be your Realtor and resource for all your Bradenton Real Estate Needs

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

How do you see other people?

Have you heard this story?

A fellow is contemplating moving into a small town. He approaches a local resident and asks, "What are the people like in this town?" To which the resident replys, "Well, what are the people like where you live now?"

"Oh," he says, "most are self-centered, impolite, rude, and not very bright." To which the local resident says, "That's probably what you'll find here too."

Another fellow approaches the local resident with the same question, "What are people like in this town?." Again, he asks the questioner, "Well, what are people like where you come from?"

"Oh," says the new questioner, "most are kind, generous, polite, and quite intelligent."

"Amazing," says the local resident, "that's a perfect description of the people here too."

The moral of course, is that most people live up to our expectations. If we look for the worst in people we find it. If we look for the best in people, we find that too.

I have decided to make this a day to look for the best in others. Will you join me?


I'm Dan Forbes and I want to be your Realtor and resource for all your Bradenton real estate needs.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

109 Attended Harry Potter Movie Event

109 past clients, friends, and future Premier Team clients attended our movie event. We hosted a private showing of the new Harry Potter.

Several times a year we host client appreciation events like this for people who do business with us and for those who refer us to others.

Thanks to all of our great people! We appreciate you.

- Dan Forbes, Marie Avery, Lee Forbes, and Jean Trousdale

The Steps to Buying a Home

Once you zero in on the home you want to buy, what do you do next? The steps to buying a home or a condo are essentially the same. This article will cover the buying process.

Step #1 – Make an Offer. If you are working with a Realtor, he or she will be able to guide you through this step and all the other steps as well. If you are working without a Realtor, you will probably want to hire an attorney to help you with this step. The attorney will charge you a fee. The Realtor, of course, is paid from the commission paid by the seller, so their services are free to you.

How much should you offer? You will need to find out what similar homes in the same neighborhood are selling for. Information from the local Multiple Listing Service is accessible to your Realtor. They can review the sold properties with you to determine a target buying price. The public tax rolls will also have information on homes that have been sold without a Realtor.

Another factor to consider it the list-to-sale-price ratio. Are homes selling on average at 90% of the asking price, or 98% of the asking price? This may give you a clue as to how much of a discount the seller is expecting to make.

The offer will include the purchase price, deposit amounts, closing date, inspection periods, other clauses and contingencies. All of these items are negotiable. It is best to seek the help of a skillful Realtor or attorney.

In Florida offers may be made verbally, but only written offers are enforceable. A written offer presented with a deposit shows the seriousness of the buyers and is recommended.

Step #2 – Negotiating and Counter Offers. When your offer is presented to the seller, they will have three options. First, they may reject your offer. If your offer is extremely low and insulting to the seller, this may be their response. Second, they may accept your offer. In most states, if your written offer is accepted and signed by the seller and delivered back to you, it is then binding on both parties. Accepting your offer means the seller makes no changes to the offer whatsoever.

Thirdly, the seller may propose a counter offer. Any change to your offer from the seller is considered a counter offer. Most of the time counter offers focus on important areas like price, deposit amount, closing date, and contingencies.

When the sellers counter offer is present to you, you now have the same three options. You may reject it, accept it, or counter it. This can go back and forth several times until all parties either come to agreement or give up.

In my own real estate practice I usually suggest that we do these negotiations verbally once the original written offer is presented. The advantage to doing it verbally rather than creating a written counter offer each time, is that the negotiating process can be handled by phone and consummated rather quickly. The quicker everyone can come to agreement, the more likely you are to succeed.

Most negotiations can be handled within twenty four hours. I have seen negotiations settled in a matter or minutes while others have dragged on for days. Again, having sold thousands of homes, the quicker you can respond to an offer or counter offer, the better your chances are at succeeding.

Once the contract has been executed by all parties it is now binding. You then enter the contract to closing stage.

Step #3 – Between Contract and Closing. This period may last from a few days to several weeks depending upon the situation. If it is a cash transaction, the buyer can be prepared to close in a few days. If the buyer is using a mortgage it is going to take the lender anywhere from two to four weeks to complete the process.

This is also the time for inspections. Most contracts provide for a home inspection and a termite inspection. These inspections require several days to order, perform, and report. Most contracts have specific time periods and guidelines for these inspection periods. The purpose of the inspection is to evaluate the condition of the property and to make sure it is as advertised by the seller.

Most states have disclosure laws which require the seller to disclose anything about the property that might affect its value. But sometimes the seller is unaware of problems like roof leaks, settling, and other problems. The few hundred dollars charged by a home inspector is well worth the service.

During this time the Title Company or attorney will perform a title search to make sure the seller can deliver clear title to the buyer. They will also be sure the property is free of liens and encumbrances. The will also prepare all of the documents needed for closing.

When the buyer’s lender is ready, they will send the mortgage package to the Title Company for the day of closing. This package contains the mortgage, the note, and all the documents needed to fund the loan.

Finally, and usually the day before closing, the buyer may conduct a final walkthrough of the property to make sure that repairs have been completed and that nothing has changed about the property. The contract should spell this out.

Step #4 – The Closing. The day of closing is noted on the contract. The hour of closing is coordinated between all parties. The closing agent and the Realtors usually coordinate this. On the day of closing documents are signed to transfer ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer. In Florida, the closing is usually attended by the seller, the buyer, the Realtors, and the closing agent. Rarely does the lender attend the closing. Most closings are held at Title Companies. Some are conducted by attorneys.

Some closings are what we call “mail away.” If the seller or buyer is unable to attend on the day of closing, the documents may be prepared in advance, over-nighted to the party, signed and over-nighted back in time for the closing.

The closing usually takes about an hour or a little longer. The buyer usually brings any funds which are required to close and the seller receives a check for their proceeds. The Title Company coordinates the loan documents, tax payments, and any other expenses related to the transaction.

Your Realtor will receive a copy of the settlement statement before the closing. They can review it with you and help you be ready for the closing hour.

At the closing table keys are usually passed from the seller to the buyer. Congratulations are offered and well wishes shared.

These steps may vary across the country, but most areas are somewhat similar. Unless you are thoroughly familiar with the process, I recommend that you involve a Realtor. Realtors are experts at guiding you through the process and will help make sure that everything is handled properly and professionally.

Note: read more about buying a home on my website.

I'm Dan Forbes and I want to be your Realtor and resource for all your Bradenton Real Estate needs.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

When Selling You Must Know The Market

A few months ago I listed a small home in Bradenton for $200,000. It was a cute home in a nice established neighborhood.

I explained to the Seller that we would know if the price was right but the number of showings and feedback from buyers.

We had a lot of showings!

We also received about 5 offers all around $185,000. Each offer was rejected by the seller, against my advice. (I always counsel that we should, at least, make a counter-offer).

This was a difficult seller and I ended up terminating the listing.

I see the home listed in the MLS now with another agent for $189,900. Since the market has declined significantly, I'm wondering if even $185,000 is possible today.

In this Buyer's market, most sellers are praying for at least ONE offer.

POINT: If you receive multiple offers all around the same price, that IS the market value for your property. Don't blow it.

I'm Dan Forbes and I want to be your Realtor and resource for all your Bradenton Real Estate needs.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Tool For Comparing Insurance Rates

Here's a nifty new web tool from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation: . Home buyers are able to compare insurance rates for 25 companies, including Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

I'm Dan Forbes and I want to be your Realtor and resource for your Bradenton real estate needs.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

We closed this nice Cypress Strand Condo today

We closed this nice Condo today in Cypress Strand at Tara in Bradenton, Florida. It is a beautiful two bedroom, two bath end unit with a picturesque view of the lake. It was listed for $185,000 and sold for $180,000

This is a great example of the good deals you can get right now in the Bradenton real estate market. In 2005 these condos were selling in the $280,000's.

If you are looking for a home in the Bradenton, Palmetto, Ellenton, Sarasota area. Please give us a call.

I'm Dan Forbes and I want to be your Realtor and a resource for your Bradenton real estate needs.


Monday, July 09, 2007

When Will the Bradenton - Sarasota Market Hit Bottom?

When real estate hits the bottom will you know it?

Mixed numbers and contrary reports cause us to wonder just when we’ll hit the bottom in the Bradenton – Sarasota market. Inventory decreased for the month of June and that’s a good sign. However, sale numbers and prices continue to fall. That’s a bad sign. Bottoms can only be seen in the rear view mirror, so keep looking.

What signs will confirm the bottom of the market?. Mixed numbers like the ones we see may suggest the bottom is yet to arrive. The signs that follow the market bottom are: (1) Reducing inventory, (2) Increasing sales, (3) Increasing prices, (4) Fewer days on market.

It’s the showing activity...oh, wise one
We have sold over 1,000 homes/condos over the years and here’s what we know: If you get no showings, it means that even agents aren’t excited about your price. If you get few showings and no repeat showings, buyers aren’t excited. When you get multiple showings and buyers coming back for a 2nd look, you should sell soon, but if buyers seem to cool off, it’s the market moving away from you. Make a price change quickly. You should have an offer in 10-12 showings. If not, evalute the condition of your home and the price.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Where's the bottom?

Today's News from the Florida Association of Realtors has us wondering just where the housing market is heading.

The release stated: "Like a mirage in the desert, the bottom of the housing slump seems to fade in and out of sight as the year progresses. Home sales jump, and there – you think you can make it out in the distance. Home sales fall, and it’s lost in the haze.

“There’s a lot of competition trying to figure out when things are going to bottom,” says Morningstar (MORN) analyst Eric Landry. “But it’s unlikely that you’re going to figure that out before any one else does.”

“Write it off: ‘07 is going to be a bad year,” Landry says. “It [the housing bottom] could be a 2008 event, it could be a 2009 event.”

Say it isn't so!!

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