5 Reasons Why I love Short Sales!!!!

Short sales have gotten a really bad rap and I am hear to proclaim my Love for short sales but mostly in keeping with the old Song, “Love the one yours With”  Short sales are here to stay for a while and instead of lamenting about the evils and perils inherent in them we might as well just lean to embrace them.  I have learned to appreciate and celebrate the good stuff and so in case you are not yet convinced let me tell you why.

1.  Short sales are a means to help owners get out of an underwater property with some of their dignity and some of their credit in tact. When you have a home that is worth 200,000 and you owe 500,000 and your income is a fraction of that you need some answers.  A short sale will usually be a less ding on your credit than a Foreclosure.

2.  Short sales are better for the neighborhood.  Short sales tend to impact a neighborhood less than several foreclosed properties hitting the market.  Foreclosures generally bring less money thus driving the prices down even further in an already depressed community. There is also more of a psychological negative with a foreclosure in the consumers eyes.

3.  There are many programs out there for consumers such as Co Op  programs, Cash for Keys, HAFA  among others that may allow homeowners to actually do a short sale of their home and receive a check at closing.  I actually did a short sale recently and the homeowner got a check for 1,000 dollars at the closing table that helped with their move.  Check with your favorite Realtor to see if you qualify for any of the programs out there.

4.  Right now and for the rest of this year you are able to do a short sale without a tax implication if it is your homestead.  There is no guarantee after 2013.

5.  Another plus for us Agents is obvious!!! What in the world would we have sold this year if not for short sales???? I know that I said not too many years ago….”Yuck I will never do short sales they are so hard to get closed!!!” Needless to say I changed my tune and have gladly helped customers close them on the listing and the buying side.

This is my short list for why I love Short Sales but if I really share my heart my biggest reason is to hear the sigh of relief and the smiles on the faces of my customers when we come to the end of that chapter in their lives.  It is important to remember all the people that have been so impacted by our changing economy and the fear that has gripped those whose lives have been forever changed.  When the day is done and the sale is complete the homeowner can start over and get his life back on the path that is moving in a positive direction.  Although simple this list…. it can be daunting so my advice is to grab your favorite Realtor and ask some questions and see if you too can fall in love with Short Sales!!!!

“The only people we have to get even with are those that have helped us”  Thankfully my list is long.

Karen Key Smith


The Secret of What Your Home's Worth – REVEALED

I, like many other Realtors, send out a postcard when I sell a property proclaiming my excitement in hopes that someone will give me a call. Thankfully most of the people are sweet and just want some information, mostly on the value of their own home in that neighborhood and I am tickled to give them that information. This week I made a mistake. Although I knew better, I let a man convince me to give him a value of his home with only a little information. He was determined that I tell him what his house was worth sight unseen with little knowledge of his home other than the number of rooms and the year it was built. I kindly calculated what I thought it would be worth based on the homes that I know that have been selling and provided him a range of what I thought was reasonable. Apparently, I was WRONG, he did not like the number I gave him so that brings us to this weeks tip.

There are some things that your Realtor must know in order to give you an accurate value of your home. Doing it blindly over the phone is not the best bet and keep in mind it is every one’s best interest that she give you the right value. Realtors do not get excited about listing property – they love to sell it.

  1. Location: We have heard that one forever and it still remains one of the key factors in determining a homes value. For us at the beach, location to the beach and whether it is near a dedicated beach with easy access is a great factor as well. Also important is how many homes in your area are for ssle? How many are foreclosures? What is the general condition of the area? Are there high association fees in your area? If you live in an area with few houses for sale then you have a better chance typically of selling your home so make sure you ask your Realtor about the level of inventory in your neighborhood.
  2. Design, square footage and lot-size are all important to determine your homes value. Generally your Realtor will do a FREE Market analysis that will give you statistics of what the homes are selling for in your area and how long they have been on the market. If she is an active Realtor then she can give you a very good opinion of what your house will sell for but remember an estimate over the phone leaves her lacking vital information. PRICE is important today in that there are certain price categories that garner the greatest number of buyers.
  3. Loan availability and appraisals: Today more than ever it is important that buyers and sellers are aware if a property qualifies for a loan. Consumers are unaware that the type of property may determine whether a buyer can get a loan for that property. It is not safe to assume that if you qualify for a loan that qualifies the property as well. It is vital that you tell your lender what type of home you are considering and in the best case scenario have your Realtor send the mls listing to your lender that you are considering. Condos do NOT typically qualify in the same way a Detached single family home would and lots are an entirely different subject today.

There are many things to consider so please be patient with your Realtor and trust that she or he spends many hours working at her job and wants to provide you with good accurate information. Hey I did not even mention the economy because I figured you had enough to ponder for one week.

Of course I have to share the happy stuff as well because everyone that I talked to this week did not shoot the messenger. I got the sweetest note and flowers from a very kind lady that was grateful for me and that just made my day and made me think. . . I love this job I think I will stay.
Enjoy your week and be sweet to your Realtor!!!!!

Episode #9 – Steal a Newer Home for $135k

This week on The Beach Show we feature a 3 bedroom 2 bath home in Palm Cove, a cute little neighborhood centrally located that includes lawn maintenance in their association dues, a foreclosure listing in an established neighborhood for only $109/foot, and a Gulf-front condo, 2/2 and partially furnished for only $215k.

The Beach Show is your ONLY internet TV show all about Real Estate on Panama City Beach.

Remember, it doesn’t cost anything to work with us if you are a buyer.

Click the “more” tag for show notes and pictures.

Call us at 866-994-1770 to see these properties or for anything else you need regarding real estate in Panama City Beach.

Show Notes

Deal 1 – Move in 3/2 for $135k

  • List Price: $135,000
  • Square Feet: 1,348
  • Price/SqFt: $100.15
  • 3 Bedrooms, 2 Bath
  • Built in 2004
  • This is a move-in ready home in Palm Cove right off of Middle Beach Road. Centrally located in Panama City Beach, this neighborhood is a great deal for a first time home buyer. With lawn maintenance and watering included in the association fees of under $300 per quarter this is a great low maintenance home. The neighborhood has two community pools and this is one of the most sought after floor plans that includes a garage.

Deal 2 – Foreclosure in great neighborhood

  • List Price: $158,500
  • Square Feet: 1,450
  • Price/SqFt: $109.31
  • 3 Bedrooms, 2 Bath
  • Built in 1994
  • This home is located in the Open Sands subdivision nestled in between Front Beach and Back Beach Roads. This home is advertised as needing a “little TLC”, including new floors, some paint, and other aesthetic touch-ups. The house itself seems to be in good shape. There’s a lot of square footage for the money.

Deal 3 – 2/2 Gulf Front Condo Furnished for $215k

  • List Price: $215,900
  • Square Feet: 1,076
  • Price/SqFt: 200.65
  • 2 Bedrooms, 2 Bath
  • Built in 2005
  • This is a 2/2 Gulf Front condo for only $215,000! Being sold partially furnished, this condo is rental ready and has excellent rental history to boot. Sterling Reef is conveniently located on Front Beach Road, right next to 1,000+ feet of undeveloped sand owned by the County where the new County Pier is currently under construction. This condo resort has outdoor grills, fitness center and Gulf-side pool.

Call us at 866-994-1770 to see these properties or for anything else you need regarding real estate in Panama City Beach.

STOP Buying Real Estate

AccidentVelocity sales in real estate is picking up and has had an increasing trend over the last several months; 8 months statewide, to be exact.  Prices are still coming down, or showing signs of doing so, but more people are buying.  Evidence is clear that people, in general, are more comfortable with the fact that the real estate market is in the toilet, and, in fact, the market isn’t really regarded as being in the “toilet” any longer, but rather just a strong “buyer’s-market”.   Deals abound everywhere and sellers, now more than ever, are willing to negotiate on just about everything to hold onto the possibility of selling their property.

So, if you want to miss out on what Trump and Buffet are saying is one of the most lucrative buyer’s markets ever, STOP BUYING REAL ESTATE.

Statewide, and even nationwide trends reflect a positive upward trend in sales velocity, but locally, prices are still coming down, and velocity sales are about the same as last year.  However, the overall “feeling” of the market has changed.  Talking to a recent real estate purchaser, “I can’t say whether we’re at the bottom or not, but prices are lower than they have been in years, and the price is right for us to purchase and it be worth it to us.”  “We’re not looking for a quick turnaround, but we are looking for something that we can use and rent out. . .  we’re paying cash, so this is a good place to park money for the next several years,” said another recent real estate buyer.

Although the real estate market in Panama City Beach is proving to be a strong opportunity to buy condos, homes and other real estate with great deals coming on the market almost daily, local trends are not quite the same as the statewide and national trends.  “We’re still not seeing any signs of price stabilization,” said a local agent.

In May 2008, 41 existing single family homes sold in Panama City Beach averaging $276,000 or $151 per square foot.  In May 2009, 34 existing single family homes sold averaging $226,000 or $116 per square foot – that’s 17% fewer homes sold at 18% less than May 2008.  Statewide, velocity sales has increased by a small amount monthly for the last 8 months.

In May 2008, 47 existing condos sold in Panama City Beach averaging $226,000 or $213 per square foot.  In May 2009, 45 existing condos sold averaging $199,000 or $181 per square foot – that’s 4% few condos sold at 12% less than May 2008.

Statewide existing home sales rose 18 percent during the month of April with a total of 13,111 homes sold compared to 11,133 homes sold in April 2008, according to FAR. April’s statewide existing home sales were slightly higher than statewide activity in March.

The national median sales price for existing single-family homes in March 2009 was $174,900, down 11.5 percent from a year earlier, according to NAR. In California, the statewide median resales price was $253,040 in March; in Massachusetts, it was $255,000; in Maryland, it was $264,302; and in New York, it was $222,500.

In Florida’s year-to-year comparison for condos, 4,660 units sold statewide compared to 3,862 units in April 2008 for a 21 percent increase. The statewide existing condo median sales price last month was $106,600; in April 2008 it was $178,900 for a 40 percent decrease. In the latest data available at press time, NAR reported the national median existing condo price was $177,600 in March 2009.

Talking with Jim Free of Jim Free Realty, “There are a lot of cash buyers right now, financing isn’t very easy, but the Florida Association of Realtors is in the process of talking to Fannie Mae about some lending issues that could help.”  Many are jumping at this opportunity as interest rates are down, yeilding low returns on investment accounts.  The down prices in real estate provide a great place to “park” money and give the buyer something tangible to use.  The only quarell is how long will you have to “park” it before you can take it back out with a profit.  For those not worried about that, real estate proves to be a great option.

On The Beach Show, the buyers we are working with are mostly looking for fixer-uppers citing that the deals are usually better there and emphasizing a willingness to put a little “elbow-grease” into a purchased property to save money.  The Hot Deals that garner the most attention are properties that are super cheap, but require a little work.  Some of these homes have been listed as low as $50 per square foot, and proving hte market is hungry for real estate deals like this, most of them are off the market within days of them being made available.

So, if you are a buyer, the story hasn’t changed if you are looking for the best deal out there; you still have to fight for it.  If you are a seller, you can sell your property and sell it quick if it is priced super cheap; meaning that the perceived value is significantly lower than other recenly sold properties on the market.  If you are an agent, work hard and you’ll be fine.  Everyone is looking for that beat up foreclosure that is $50 to $75/foot or that listing where the seller is losing his shirt.  Become specialized in finding the right deals for your clients and keep them up to date regularly with a great web site, blog and consistent email notifications.  And, follow up, for crying out loud; just because your clients don’t respond, doesn’t mean they aren’t interested, you just haven’t sent them something yet that illicits a response.