Market Updates

Reality vs Reality TV for Homebuyers

By | August 31, 2013

Couple in living room watching televisionAh, reality TV. That land where everything seems so easy and even the most difficult life events are resolved in fewer than 30 minutes. Of course, producers, editing and professional lighting don’t hurt (if only that were part of everyone’s reality, right?). So when it comes to home buying, just how real is reality TV? And what can people without production crews expect?

Let’s start with the basics: Buying or selling a home doesn’t (usually) happen overnight. What becomes a two-minute segment on television actually requires days, weeks and even months, in some cases, of time and effort in everyday life. It entails budgeting, searching, inspecting and negotiating.

To sum it up: The camera misses a lot of the action. You – in real life – will interview and hire a Realtor, apply for home loans and agonize over picking the right house. You’ll pay your earnest money, order inspections, work through contingencies, prepare to bring cash to closing, sign your name dozens of times to transfer ownership – all before you get the keys. And guess what, you won’t see most, or any, of that on TV.

But you probably already know all that. You also probably know that every home shown on TV is in tip-top condition from top to bottom – and pretty stylishly staged. In reality, that’s not always the case. Be prepared to imagine that the salmon pink paint in the dining room is temporary, that the lawn doesn’t need a garden gnome at the base of every tree or bush. In other words, don’t just focus on the life someone else made there, focus on what you see in your future there: you, your furniture, your life.

One aspect that most TV shows do seem to get right, though, is the advantage buyers have when using a real estate agent. Knowing the best homes within your budget, detailing the pros and cons of each property, making the offers/counteroffers – that’s their job. Which in turn makes yours – finding your dream home – much easier.

Speaking of dream homes, yours might end up looking slightly, or significantly, different than you thought. It might not exist, or it might not exist in your price range. In this instance, take a cue from the reality show buyers and learn to compromise. The lap pool might be out of reach, but at least you get that large soaking tub in the master bath.

For a more detailed explanation of the Sarasota real estate market trends and the  homebuying process, contact Carole Samuels.  I am ready to answer all your questions.

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The Best US Cities for House Flipping

By | August 31, 2013

Ringling Bridge“The Sarasota area is blessed with incredible natural beauty, great cultural assets and tremendous amenities that families enjoy year round,” said Roger Piro, President, Sarasota Association of Realtors. “We have a tremendous real estate market, and more and more people are finding out about this area, across the nation and around the world.”

With mortgage rates still low, house flipping continues in the U.S. and Housing Wire has the five best cities for flipping. If you love a good before-and-after project, contact Carole Samuels, Sarasota Real Estate Specialist.

Note:  Two of the five best cities identified for investors are located in FL (Orlando and Tampa). Although not in the TOP 5, Sarasota, FL is getting a lot of attention from investors.

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Supply and Demand in the Sarasota Real Estate Market

By | August 24, 2013

Sold SignPerceptions matter.  Across the country, consumer confidence has  improved dramatically of late. It’s now at 81.4, up 18.7 points in the past  year.  When people feel that things are going in a positive direction,  they are more willing to spend and invest.  Reflecting the public’s  perception that the economy is on the mend, the National Association of  Realtors® reported that closed sales and pending sales indices are at  their highest level since 2006. United   States and foreign investors have both decided to stop  “sitting on the fence” and are investing in one of the Sarasota, Osprey or Venice homes or condos they looked at for  the past few years, but never had quite enough confidence to make the  decision to buy.

     Sarasota, Osprey and Venice Florida  home and condo sales in the first half of 2013 are higher than at this time  last year by 13.8%.  If homes continue to sell at the current rate, 2013  will be recorded as the second highest sales year in the 90-year history of  the Sarasota  Association of Realtors (SAR) surpassed only in 2004.   “The  strong Spring surge before the snowbirds leave is still in place, but for the  past two years, we’ve also seen a second buying season in the Summer that  includes not only those who typically relocate in the Summer before school  starts, but also snowbirds who didn’t buy while they were here last Winter.   They’re buying now before prices rise even more,” he added.

     As more people have been deciding to buy homes and condos in the Sarasota Florida  area, the inventory of properties available on the market has fallen.   The inventory of available homes in the Sarasota,  Osprey and Venice  area has now fallen to the lowest level in nearly a decade. There is only a  3.2 month supply of single family and 4.3 month supply of condos available.

     Distressed property sales now represent roughly 12% of total sales,  much lower than the 51% figure experienced in the 4th quarter of 2010 so  those properties are also now becoming a scarce commodity.

     Responding to this supply/demand imbalance, Sarasota area home prices have begun to rise  and that trend of increasing home prices shows no sign of stopping any time  soon.

     “Sarasota  is blessed with incredible natural beauty, great cultural assets and  tremendous amenities that families enjoy year round,” said Roger Piro,  SAR President.  Mr. Henley added his own observation that “more  and more people are learning about the SarasotaFlorida metropolitan area,  loving it, and deciding to invest in homes and condos here.”  With  the improved consumer confidence level, there is little chance we’ll see  anything other than a continuation of the positive trend in Sarasota real estate sales and prices we’ve  seen so far in 2013.

 

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Sarasota Real Estate Sales in July 2013

By | August 22, 2013

a-housing-graph

a-housing-graphThe Sarasota Board of Realtors just released the sales statistics for July.

The Sarasota real estate market continued an amazing streak in July, with members of the Sarasota Association of Realtors® closing 911 sales during the month – a 30.3 percent increase over July 2012, and 3.2 percent higher than the June 2013 total. The first seven months of 2013 are still tracking to make the overall year one of the biggest in SAR’s history.

The other major news of the month was the major rebound in the median sale price for single family homes. The price went from $200,000 in June 2013 to $227,500 in July 2013, a 7.2 percent increase. For the 12-month rolling median price, the single family home figure was at $195,000, a 16 percent increase over last year at this time when the rolling median price was at $168,500. If current trend levels continue, this will be the biggest year-to-year increase for single family home prices in four years.

To view the full press release click here

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Property Tax Notices Have Been Sent

By | August 20, 2013

TRIM Statement

August is a wonderful time – football kicks off, the kids get back to school … and TRIM notices get sent out.  Homeowners in both Sarasota and Manatee Counties should receive their proposed tax notice today or tomorrow (give it a couple of extra days if you’re out of state) and owners invariably have questions about their statement.  Sarasota County estimates that they receive phone calls from 10% of all owners this week.

In today’s issue I’ll break down your statement so you know what’s going where.

TRIM Notices Are Not Bills!

 

TRIM Statement
See that big red box in the upper right hand corner?  That should be your first clue.  TRIM notices represent your worst-case scenario for the upcoming tax bill.  The actual tax rate (millage) is subject to change over the course of the next month or so but it can’t get any higher by statute.  That said, most locales ARE raising their taxes this year – only North Port is talking about ‘rolling back’ the tax rate.

A Note About Homestead


Most owners locally take advantage of the Save Our Homes Act, commonly referred to as ‘homestead’.  This act caps the maximum amount of tax increase at 3% of the previous year’s bill AND provides an automatic $50,000 deduction but it only applies to primary residences for which the owner has applied with the county.

The homestead resets every time title is transferred so new owners are likely to pay a little more in their second year (taxes are assessed per ownership of the property on January 1of the taxable year but aren’t payable until the end of the year, meaning most owners who bought this year are able to take advantage of the previous owner’s homestead in their first tax cycle).

Definitions

  1. Market Value – what the county thinks your home is actually worth
  2. Assessed Value – the value the county uses to actually tax you before exemptions
  3. Millage Rate – a fancy term for ‘tax rate’; calculate your taxes by multiplying (millage rate * .001 ) * (current year taxable value).
  4. Ad Valorem Taxes – taxes based on the assessed value of your property.  These are your school, city, and county taxes.
  5. Non Ad Valorem Taxes – taxes based on the size or number of units in your property, as determined by the levying authority.  These are the taxes for your fire service, garbage collection, and stormwater utility.

How To Save  A Couple Of Bucks

While the TRIM notices are just proposed taxes, the actual rates will be determined over the next month or so and your actual bill won’t be delinquent until April 1 of next year.  The local counties give discounts to taxpayers who pay early in the amount of 1% a month, startingNovember 1; if you think your taxes are too high, simply pay your taxes in November and give yourself an automatic 4% discount (or 3% in December, 2% in January, or 1% in February).

Most mortgage servicers who escrow taxes already pay early but it’s definitely worthwhile to check for yourself!

Interested In Buying or Selling?


When you hire Alex Krumm at Re/Max Alliance Group, you’ll get an award-winning expert agent ready to work for YOU!  I’m in the top 2% of active local agents for homes sold and I’m used to selling more homes for more money in less time.  Put the benefit of our area’s #1 brokerage to work and call today!

Alex Krumm, GRI, CDPE
Broker Associate, Re/Max Alliance Group
SAR Professional Development Committee
4-Year Winner, Five-Star Best In Customer Satisfaction – Sarasota Magazine
941-234-3597 Direct
srqbroker@gmail.com

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Optimistic Outlook in Housing Market

By | August 19, 2013

 WOW…here we are ALREADY more than half way through 2013. In reviewing my business plan year-to-date, I’ve noted that many of the economic and real estate predictions of Dave Liniger, Co-Founder and Chairman of RE/MAX International, such as, more buyers and sellers entering the market; home sales up; less distressed properties; mortgage rates remaining at an all time low have become reality.

For Dave’s Top Ten Real Estate Predictions CLICK HERE

That being said…If you are thinking of Buying or Selling real estate in Sarasota FL…Now is an excellent time!  Our summer months tend to be much slower than our winter ones and there’s less competition for the best homes when it’s hot outside.  If you’re thinking about buying, DON’T WAIT until 2014 – you’ll be competing with a massive influx of seasonal buyers who will scoop up the cream of the crop before you even know it’s on the market.

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Foreclosures in Sarasota

By | August 13, 2013

Foreclosure SignForeclosures:  A silver lining in the  real estate meltdown. Although the purchasing process can be a bit of a grind, in the end you may find a fantastic deal!

Buying a foreclosed home is a little different than a  typical real estate transaction.  If you think this would be of interest to you, I would recommend the first step be to contact a real estate professional specializing in foreclosed homes to educate and guide you through the process.

The Sarasota foreclosure market has several promising properties to suit your budget and lifestyle. We have beach front, downtown, luxury homes as well as “fixer uppers”.  Many of the homes are well-maintained, however some do require repairs and/or renovation.

To review several foreclosed properties currently available CLICK HERE

For a FREE list of foreclosed homes in the Sarasota marketplace email or call me.

 

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The Big Fish Have Come Out To Feed

By | July 30, 2013

Last week, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune published a fantastic article about the state of our market and the challenges today’s buyers are facing.  Much of the data in this update is drawn from this article and you can read the entire text here.

The Big Fish Have Come Out To Feed

It’s no big secret that there are a lot of cash buyers out there right now – they’ve always been prevalent in our resort market, but what’s surprising is the overall number of sales going to cash buyers right now.  The Sarasota-Bradenton area is the #4 market in the entire country overall for cash buyers with 59% of all transactions going to contracts without financing contingencies (bested only by Cape Coral [70%], Miami [64%], and Las Vegas [62%).  That’s DOUBLE the U.S. average for cash transactions and it’s making it much harder for buyers who require a mortgage to purchase.

Our summer months tend to be much slower than our winter ones and there’s less competition for the best homes when it’s hot outside.  If you’re thinking about buying, DON’T WAIT until 2014 – you’ll be competing with a massive influx of seasonal buyers who will scoop up the cream of the crop before you even know it’s on the market.

10% Of All Transactions Go To Corporate Buyers

Right now, there are at least three major hedge funds investing unheard of amounts of dollars into our market; one company alone has pledged to spend $1 billion (that’s billion with a ‘b’) between Tampa and Ft. Myers.  These buyers accounted for 10% of all last month’s sales and they purchased almost entirely in the under-$200k range.  Their contracts call for fast closings, quick inspection decisions, and are typically full-price or above cash offers.

Traditional buyers can still get into the market with an aggressive agent and a little bit of patience.  We’ll use every tool at our disposal to make sure you’re able to take advantage of today’s incredible housing opportunities.

Interest Rates Are Going Up, Up, Up

You may have heard the news about today’s record-setting interest rates.  For the past few years, interest rates have hovered in the 3.5%-4% range on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages; rates have never been lower in U.S. history.  Over the past month or so, the Fed has hinted that they’re going to back off the quantitative easing that’s been keeping rates low and rates have jumped substantially as a result.  The chart at right (courtesy bankrate.com) graphs rates over the past six months – in the last 30 days alone, interest rates have gone up almost an entire percentage point.

That rate difference really impacts your monthly payment.  On a $150,000 purchase with 20% down, it would jump your monthly payment from $726.35 (principal and interest only) to $795.52 and cost you $24,900.74 over the life of the loan.

Interested In Buying or Selling?


When you hire Alex Krumm at Re/Max Alliance Group, you’ll get an award-winning expert agent ready to work for YOU!  I’m in the top 2% of active local agents for homes sold and I’m used to selling more homes for more money in less time.  Put the benefit of our area’s #1 brokerage to work and call today!

Alex Krumm, GRI, CDPE
Broker Associate, Re/Max Alliance Group
SAR Professional Development Committee
4-Year Winner, Five-Star Best In Customer Satisfaction – Sarasota Magazine
941-234-3597 Direct
srqbroker@gmail.com

Send Me An E-Mail Today!

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Mortgage Rates On The Rise

By | July 30, 2013

Rates Up & Down

Rates Up & DownAlthough mortgage rates remain historically low, we have seen an upward surge in recent months. A 30-year fixed rate is fluctuating between low to mid 4 percent, which is the highest point we’ve seen in a couple years. In addition, greater consumer demand coupled with low inventory is resulting in increased home prices.

Visit bankrate.com to keep informed on current rates.

If you are seriously considering a home purchase, give me a call. We can discuss market trends and your real estate goals so I can assist you in the decision-making process.

 

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June Real Estate Statistics

By | July 24, 2013

Housing-InventoryThe inventory of available homes in the Sarasota market
fell to only 3,114 in June 2013 – the lowest level in longer
than a decade, and an 18 percent drop from last year at
this time. Declining inventory generally results in greater
competition for available homes and condos and subsequent
price escalation.

Members of the Sarasota Association of Realtors® sold 883
properties in June 2013, a drop from the May 2013 figure
of 1,020 which represented an eight-year high, but up 2
percent over June of last year. The Sarasota real estate market
tallied 642 single family homes and 241 condominiums
in June 2013, compared to June 2012 totals of 603 single
family homes and 261 condos sold in June 2012.

To view the full press release click here

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