Bradenton Florida Real Estate News

Friday, January 11, 2008

Thinking of Buying a New Home in Bradenton Florida? Check Out These Big Incentives!

If you are in the market for a new home, now may just be the best time ever to buy. New home builders in our Bradenton, Florida real estate market area are offering everything from free 42-inch flat screen televisions to free car leases to free pools.

New homes can be found starting in the low $120,000's. Homes priced in the $2 million dollar range have been discounted $300,000 by one builder. If you have a home to sell, one builder will pay up to 6 months on your new home while you are selling the old one.

How can you find out about these incentives? Contact me of course!

(Copyright 2008 by Dan Forbes, All Rights Reserved)

Please contact me, Dan Forbes, or call 941-713-5760 if you have any questions about our Bradenton Florida Real Estate market. Please visit;;

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Friday, October 12, 2007

10 Cities Where it's a Great Time to Buy

Forbes magazine just released it's list of the 10 Most Attractive Real Etate Markets. They studied 40 of the largest housing markets looking at home sales trends and projects. Forbes believes these markets represent a good buy for home buyers.

These areas have experienced price declines but are expected to see increases in the near future:Here are Forbes' and Moody's 10 most attractive markets, along with the median homes sales price and their price change from 2006.

  • Fort Worth, Texas: $156,500, 1.7 percent

  • Kansas City, Mo.: $157,700, -0.7 percent

  • Houston: $154,900, 1.4 percent

  • Cleveland: $128,700, -7.1 percent

  • Denver: $255,200, none

  • Long Island, N.Y.: $482,300, 1.7 percent

  • Washington, D.C.: $445,300, 0.3 percent

  • Orlando, Fla.: $265,100, -2.4 percent

  • Phoenix: $264,800, -2.7 percent

  • Las Vegas: $307,900, -3.6 percent

Please give me a call if you have questions about our Bradenton real estate market. You can reach me, Dan Forbes, at 941-746-0505 or toll free 877-646-8326. Also visit my web site at BradentonFloridaRealEstate.Com and my blog at The Real Estate ZOO.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Top Ten Reasons to Buy Bradenton, Florida Real Estate

When is the best time to buy real estate? When it is a buyer’s market, right? So, what are you waiting for? Our Bradenton real estate market is a ripe opportunity for investing in real estate or buying your dream home.As I sat down to write this article I thought I’d write about the Top Ten Reasons to Buy Bradenton Real Estate. These thoughts are coming to me as I type:

1. Bradenton has a wonderful, desirable location. Bradenton is located in Manatee County which is between Sarasota and Tampa on Florida’s West coast. The largest city in the county is Bradenton, but the name Bradenton is used for most of the unincorporated area of the county as well. Other cites include Palmetto, Ellenton, Parrish, Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach, and Anna Maria. Bradenton offers easy access to all of central Florida, including Orlando.The Manatee River runs through the county and provides easy access to the Gulf of Mexico. Boating, fishing, and water sports are great area attractions. Or maybe, you’d prefer relaxing on some of the best beaches in Florida.

2. Bradenton has a huge supply of inventory, but it seems to have topped out. Excess inventory is what drives prices down, but just as importantly, it gives you plenty of choices. Just two years ago if you could find five homes in your price range, you were lucky. Now you can select from among hundreds of homes. Better selection equals a better purchase.Now that our inventory is beginning to shrink, it may signal that the bottom has already occurred. Buy now before the seller’s market returns.

3. Bradenton prices are down. Our residential prices are down over 20 percent from the high of 2005. This is unprecedented and represents a great buying opportunity. If you were to tell someone that you could buy real estate at a 20 percent discount, they would call you a genius. Opportunities like this don’t last long.

4. Interest rates are still near historical lows. Ask anyone in the business where interest rates are going to go over the next few years. Everyone believes that rates will go up. For every increase in interest rate, thousands of buyers are shut out of the market. Your dollars will go farther today than they will a year from now. Taking advantage of today’s rates is like buying your house at a discount. Financing guidelines are tightening on a daily basis. This is a sure sign that rate hikes are coming.

5. In Bradenton it is still possible to buy with little to zero down. 100% financing has all but disappeared. However, it is still available for many. Then there are other options like 97% percent, or 95% financing. On top of that, today’s sellers are willing to pay some or all of the buyer’s closing costs. We have seen many buyers get into the home of their dreams with virtually no money out of pocket.

6. The baby boomers are coming to Bradenton. A few short years ago Money magazine named Bradenton, Florida as one of the top five places to retire. Well, it’s an even better area today than it was five years ago. Our proximity to the white, sandy beaches of the Gulf of Mexico is quite attractive, since we are a coastal county. We are also located near two major airports (Tampa and Sarasota). The Interstate highway system provides great access to Manatee, Sarasota, Pinellas, and Hillsborough Counties. As long as it keeps snowing up North the baby boomers will keep coming here. Our area is just a fantastic place to live, work, and play.

7. Bradenton sellers are motivated to sell. Some homes have been on the market for over a year. They have reduced their price again, again, and again. Some are desperate and most are quite motivated. Having practiced real estate for thirteen years in Bradenton, I have never seen sellers so motivated. Now is the time to get a great deal!

8. Bradenton’s foreclosures and short sale market is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Since many speculators overextended themselves in 2005 our foreclosure and short sale rate has skyrocketed. If you are an investor, this represents a tremendous buying opportunity. Your strategy should be to buy at a discount, hold for a few years, and then sell for a big profit. Put a tenant in the property and allow them to pay down your mortgage for an even greater profit. If you are buying a home to live in, the advantage is even greater.

9. New home builders in Bradenton are offering unprecedented incentives. Buy a new home, get a free pool. Need help with financing? No problem. One builder is offering to hold a 15 %t second mortgage for five years, no interest, no payments. Others are offering $10,000 or more towards closing costs. All of this is on top of the $50,000 to $100,000 price reductions. Your Realtor will know where the best deals are.

10. The Bradenton real estate market is poised for a quick rebound. It is predicted that our market will experience what’s called a “V” recovery. It was quick to go down and it will be quick to recover. If you are the type of buyer waiting to find the bottom you have probably already missed it. Even if you believe the bottom is still to come, buying today locks in your discount during a historical opportunity. Waiting now may only mean paying more in the future.

Well, there you have it. Here are my thoughts on the Top Ten Reasons to Buy Bradenton Real Estate. Actually, it was quite easy to come up with these ten reasons. There are probably ten more I could have written about.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

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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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Bradenton - Sarasota home sales surge

Bradenton-Sarasota home sales surge

MANATEE --The Bradenton-Sarasota housing market was the only one in Florida to experience an increase in sales in the first quarter of the year, compared to the same quarter last year.

Existing home sales were up 6 percent, according to numbers released by the Florida Association of Realtors on Tuesday. The median price slid 12 percent to a median of $290,500, good news for buyers.

During the same quarter last year, the median price was $331,100.

In contrast, sales in neighboring markets like Tampa-St. Petersburg were down 37 percent; Fort Myers was down 35 percent; and Naples was down 30 percent. Statewide, sales were down 26 percent.

"It's all relative because our sales were so dismal, the only direction they could go was up," said Dan Forbes, co-owner and broker of Premier Team Inc. in Bradenton.

Re/Max Gulfstream's Ken Miller was a little leery about calling Tuesday's figures the first step toward full recovery.

"No one can speak from experience about where we are now, but I don't think you're going to see any big change until mid-2008," Miller said.

He agreed the increase in sales was a good thing but says coming off an unprecedented boom makes it even more difficult than usual to predict the path the market will take.

Locally, condos appreciated by 15 percent in the first quarter, with the median price at $312,600.

Although local condo prices inched upward, those looking to buy a home under $200,000 have a chance now that was unheard of just a year ago, said May Aston, president of the Manatee Association of Realtors.

"There are quite a few decent homes under $200,000. Last year, if someone were to ask me for a home under $200,000, I couldn't have found one," Aston said.

Forbes thinks there is an underlying demand growing, but many people are waiting to see what the Legislature does about property taxes before making a move.

"I think we are accumulating some pent-up buyer demand," Forbes said. "I think there are a lot of folks that would like to move that are waiting to see what happens with property taxes."

Miller said it's for that reason many who want to make lateral moves are holding back. A significant part of any real estate market are families moving upward to larger homes, but that market remains quite a bit quieter with insurance and property taxes up in the air.

Those who are buying are looking for deals, experts said.

"We are definitely seeing positive numbers," Forbes said. "For the true, seasoned investor, it doesn't matter if it's a buyer or seller's market, they are looking."

And what are they looking for? "Steep discounts," Forbes said.

Miller agreed. He finds that buyers and sellers are at a standoff, with buyers expecting sellers to cut prices tremendously and sellers expecting to get unrealistic amounts of money in the current market situation.

"If the home was purchased before 2004, they are a little more realistic when it comes to listing price," Miller said.

During the height of the real estate boom, there was only a 1.7-month supply of homes on the market, but as speculators and other sellers scurried to get out of their homes, that number skyrocketed to more than a 10-month supply.

That tide is finally turning, Forbes said. Currently, there is a 9.7-month supply of homes and with more than 500 sales pending in Manatee County, that supply is expected to decline further.

In an ideal market, there is a two- to three-month supply of homes on the market.

"I think because of our location, we will definitely be one of the first markets to bounce back," Aston said.

Market analysts said that home prices are staying even with the rate of inflation.
"We see this as a benchmark," said Wayne Archer, director of the University of Florida's Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies, in a statement accompanying Tuesday's figures from the Florida Association of Realtors.

"When prices maintain the same level as inflation, then we're probably in some kind of equilibrium. It indicates the market is stabilizing."

Bradenton Real Estate

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Monday, May 14, 2007

UF professor says now is time to buy

UF professor says now is the time to buy

Grant Thrall, a University of Florida land economist, said he believes the state's real estate market is poised to rebound in the not-too-distant future. But first, Florida's Legislature has to get its act together on taxes and insurance.

'Without insurance, you can't get a mortgage, and without a mortgage, you cannot buy a house,' Thrall said. '

If potential buyers think they will either not be able to obtain insurance or believe they will lose their insurance, they won't bother looking or buying in Florida.

'As to taxes, unless millage rates are rolled back and Save Our Homes benefits become portable, Floridians will not trade up into bigger houses or trade down into smaller ones. They will just stay put, he said, and that hurts real estate agents, mortgage brokers, bankers, title agents, appraisers, lawyers and anyone else involved in real estate transactions.

Thrall is convinced that state lawmakers will make the right choices, and once they do real estate prices will stop falling and start climbing again.

Adding to the rise will be the return of the baby boomers.

Part of the reason prices spiked upward so sharply during the boom is that the period coincided with a massive transfer of wealth from the World War II generation to the baby boomer generation -- people born from 1946 to 1964.

'Because prices were rising, many baby boomers rushed into the market, figuring if they did not buy soon, they would forever lose their place in the sun,' Thrall said.

'Housing builders responded with supplies of housing. But the peak of this intergenerational wealth transfer passed, bringing a slowing Florida second home market, softer prices and less urgency to buy.'

Now there is a large inventory of unsold homes hanging over the market. But Thrall thinks that inventory will be depleted quickly as baby boomers start thinking about retirement again.'

Aging is inevitable,' Thrall said. 'Baby boomers' numbers are legend, and baby boomers will eventually seek a place in the sun.'

So anyone who wants a good deal on a house, Thrall said, had better buy before that massive wave of buyers gets geared up again.


Bradenton Real Estate

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Are Manatee county homes worth the price?

This article from The Herald is worth the read:

The Herald is running a series of articles called Manatee Money Squeeze in which they are focusing on several local money issues.

This article talks about the dilemma home buyer's face in our market due to rising house prices.

Here's a formula we've seen happening:
rising house prices + rising property taxes = less buyers in the market.

Bradenton Real Estate

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Friday, April 06, 2007

Bradenton - Sarasota Real Estate Market Has Hit Bottom

The Bradenton - Sarasota, Florida real estate market has hit bottom, and will stay there for the next 12-18 months and then begin a 3-4 percent annual growth climb.

At least that's the word from Hank Fishind a well respected Florida economist. And that's good news for our Bradenton Real Estate Market. Having seen a median price decline of approximately 22% since the high of 2005, it seems that we have finally hit bottom.

Personally, our real estate team is having a strong 2007 as we see buyers entering the market to take advantage of the price declines. Low interest rates and a great inventory selection makes this a perfect time to buy.

To our listing clients we reccommend the following:
1. Be sure you are priced competitively, because homes ARE selling. Buyers are buying the "obvious best value." What's that mean? It means your home should be the BEST priced home in the area, hands down.

2. Clean, paint, install new carpet. Do everything you can to make your home show perfectly and be "move in" ready. Buyers have 100's of homes to compare to yours, make sure yours shows the BEST.

3. When you receive an offer, be courteous, grateful, and negotiate it to it's highest, then seriously consider executing it. Many seller's have been on the market a year or more with NO offer. Don't lose an interested buyer.

To our buyer clients we say:
1. Have a clear picture of the home you want to buy. With so many homes on the market it's easy to get confused by looking at 20 homes or more. Narrow down your criteria to a short list of homes to visit.

2. Make your offer attractive by having a pre-qualification letter in hand from your lender. We can help you with that. There's no cost or obligation to that particular lender.

3. Be sure that your are working with a Realtor who is a Certified Residential Specialist or an Accredited Buyers Representative. These designations (which we hold) give you the assurance that you are working with a highly trained professional.

Fishkind's presentation yesterday in Manatee County was covered by our local paper. You can read the full story here...

Bradenton Real Estate

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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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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

What slowdown? We're busy as can be!

In spite of all the news about a housing slump in the Bradenton - Sarasota, Florida market our team is busy. We have executed 21 contracts on our listings and with buyers since the beginning of the year. That's quite amazing.

How do we do it?

When working with sellers, we help them....
1. Price their home right
2. Give them tips for preparing the home for sale
3. Create a specific marketing strategy for their home
4. Employ our negotiating skills
5. Utilize our superb systems to achieve a smooth closing

When working with buyers, we help them....
1. By understanding their needs and just what their perfect home would be like
2. Narrow down their search from 100's of homes to the few that fits them perfectly
3. Help them understand their financing options
4. Employ our negotiating skills
5. Utilize our superb systems to achieve a smooth closing

Bradenton Real Estate

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