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PROFARM Neighborhood Advocates
Q3 2017 Stats (Nov. 2017)

Florida Realtors® recently released the 2017 quarter 3 real estate market statistics for the state. I wanted to be sure you had an overview of how our area is performing.

The Single Family Home and Townhome/Condo real estate markets in Pinellas County continue to thrive in the third quarter of 2017. Median Sale Price continued to rise in both segments. Closed Sales were down for Single Family for the first time in months. It’s highly possible that the hurricanes in September are the cause for this.

Median Sale Price for the third quarter was up for both Single Family and Townhome/Condo in Pinellas County. Median Days to Contract was down year-over-year for Q3 in both segments, meaning that properties are going to contract faster now than this time last year.

As your local REALTOR® and Neighborhood Advocate, I am your resource for data that affects our communities and your property value. Homeownership affordability and accessibility is a cornerstone of the REALTOR® advocacy efforts at every level – local, state and national.

Here are some highlights from the Florida Realtors® Quarter 3 2017 Statistics Release for Pinellas County for the Single Family Homes & Townhome/Condo Market Segments:

 

Closed Sales: Down for Pinellas County Single Family Homes and just slightly up for Townhome/Condo for Quarter 3 2017 from Quarter 3 2016. This statistic is a good indicator of the overall health of the market, and successful closed sales mean a win-win for both buyers and sellers.

  • Single Family Homes: 3,340 Closed Sales in Q3 2017 vs. 3,694 Closed Sales in Q3 2016, a 9.6% decrease
  • Townhome/Condo: 2,138 Closed Sales in Q3 2017 vs. 2,131 Closed Sales in Q3 2016, a 0.3% increase

 

Median Sale Price: Up for Pinellas County in both Single Family Homes and Townhome/Condo for Quarter 3 2017 from Quarter 3 2016. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half the homes sold for less.

  • Single Family Homes: $240,000 Median Sale Price in Q3 2017 vs. $220,000 Median Sale Price in Q3 2016, a 9.1% increase
  • Townhome/Condo: $152,750 Median Sale Price in Q3 2017 vs. $132,500 Median Sale Price in Q3 2016, an 15.3% increase

 

Inventory (Active Listings): Down for Pinellas County in both Single Family Homes and Townhome/Condo for Quarter 3 2017 from Quarter 3 2016. When inventory is low, there are fewer houses on the market and buyers are often competing for homes or have a tougher time finding a home that suits their exact needs. Flexibility, planning and preparation are key to being able to make an offer on a home when you do find what you’re looking for.

  • Single Family Homes: 3,027 Active Listings in Q3 2017 vs. 3,275 Active Listings in Q3 2016, a 7.6% decrease
  • Townhome/Condo: 2,097 Active Listings in Q3 2017 vs. 2,410 Active Listings in Q3 2016, a 13% decrease

 

Median Days to Contract: Down for Pinellas County for Single Family and Townhome/Condo for Quarter 3 2017 from Quarter 3 2016. The midpoint of the number of days it took for a property to receive a sales contract during that time. The faster a home goes to contract, the less time it is on the market for sale. This statistic is another good indicator for sellers and a tool for buyers to understand how to reach their goals in a hot market.

  • Single Family Homes: 22 Median Days to Contract in Q3 2017 vs. 27 Median Days to Contract in Q3 2016, an 18.5% decrease
  • Townhome/Condo: 34 Median Days to Contract in Q3 2017 vs. 41 Median Days to Contract in Q3 2016, a 17.1% decrease

 

If you would like to discuss the market statistics further, or would like me to keep you informed, I would welcome the opportunity to provide monthly stats for you. Please don’t hesitate to email me at AnnalisaWeller1@gmail.com or call me at 727-804-6566 if I can be of service. Thank you so much!
© 2017 Pinellas Realtor Organization

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This is a great little chart to help both when buying or selling a Smart Home to ensure that everyone reaps the benefits. Sometimes information regarding the manuals or which items you have in the home can be lost in the complicated process of purchasing or selling a home. Easy to print or save to your computer. Thank you Florida Realtors for putting this together. Very much appreciated!

 

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Erroneous assumptions about the business can cause a ton of confusion for the public about how the real estate process works.

The real estate process makes everyone an armchair expert by default. The buyer, the seller, their friends, co-workers and neighbors all know how real estate works.

After all, the last time they bought or sold a home was 10 years ago, and in their view, not much has changed. Misbeliefs and bad information are a dangerous combination.

People don’t know what they don’t know, and what they do know is enough to create false perceptions of a profession that is often surrounded by damaging assumptions. Here are 15 real estate myths — busted!

1. Real estate agents are paid a salary

Despite what many think, the public is horribly confused about how agents make a living.

There must be a salary floating in the background that supports agents — after all, how is it that they can appear so well-groomed, professional and polished while hosting lavish broker events, open houses or other marketing activities, showing customers around town all day and buying them lunch?

Attention perpetual house shoppers and sellers just testing the market: the agent’s time and expenses are 100 percent on them.

Are you a rich broker, or a poor broker?
How to drive automation and profit from Robert Kiyosaki’s ‘Cashflow Quadrant‘ READ MORE

There is no base salary or reimbursement for the time and money they’ve expended no matter the outcome, whether it’s 500-plus messages or hours of research, advice, problem-solving, trouble-shooting, giving insight over the phone or making countless trips to show property.

How would you feel if your employer decided, as part of its cost cutting, to not give you a paycheck for your all of your work and effort, especially on a big project that involved a tremendous amount of time and effort on nights, holidays and weekends?

2. The agent keeps all the commission

First, the public needs to understand that commission is legally paid to the agent’s employing brokerage company, which in turns pays the agent.

Depending on what side the agent is representing (buyer or seller), their brokerage will earn the listing or selling side commission unless the agent happens to be handling both sides of the transaction.

It is a rare occurrence, but it does happen, and doing so is never a walk in the park.

No matter what the commission is, the amount paid to the agent is not the entire commission — the brokerage takes its portion (to be able to run the company to support its agents and keep the lights on), and then the agent gets his or her split.

The split varies based on the company, business model and the agent’s level of production.

There are usually additional fees that come off the top of the gross amount of commission being paid to the brokerage.

By the time all is sliced and diced, the resulting amount to the agent may surprise you. Then that agent has to remember to withhold money for taxes and social security. They make a living just like everyone else; the difference is the check doesn’t come every two weeks.

3. The typical commission is 6 percent, right?

Speaking of which, I recently had someone ask me this exact question.

The buyer wanted to purchase one of my listings and assumed that I would be receiving the “standard 6 percent,” to which I explained that all commissions are negotiable and vary according to a variety of factors with type of property, price and such in my market.

Every market is different.

4. An agent’s gas, mileage and other transportation expenses are reimbursed 

If only real estate brokerages had a “transportation fund” to reimburse agents for these things.

The 25 trips to show a buyer homes every time a new one hit the market — only for the buyer to wait and see if something better comes along.

The three days spent driving all over town with a relocating buyer who decides not end up moving to that city.

The umpteen trips to a listing, prepping for showings, and continually checking on the vacant property; or meeting vendors contractors, photographers, etc. — none of it is paid for by anyone but the agent.

Driving into new construction neighborhoods that are rife with tire-puncturing nails — the gas, tolls, vehicle wear-and-tear and maintenance — it all adds up, and it’s all on the agent.

5. Marketing expenses aren’t the agent’s responsibility

Speaking of things the public thinks a brokerage pays for on behalf of an agent — don’t forget the marketing expenses!

Think about the several thousand dollars for video production, 3-D tours, digital marketing campaigns, specialty websites, broker open house events, the local symphony quartet playing on a red carpet greeting prospective buyers — not to mention the design and printing of brochures and the like.

Yep, this marketing is brought to you by — your neighborhood friendly real estate agent (sorry no corporate sponsor was available), who didn’t ask the seller to contribute one dime, even after agreeing to discount commission to make the seller happy.

And when the seller doesn’t follow the agent’s advice, won’t work with an offer that was received because it was “too low” and ultimately decides to pull the house off the market?

Oh well.

6. A home passes or fails inspection

An inspection is meant to assess the condition of a home. An inspector doesn’t “pass” or “fail” a home.

He or she will provide a report explaining all issues along with a summary of the age of key systems such as plumbing, electric, HVAC and the roof along with an estimate of economic life remaining on those systems.

7. Inspectors have to find something, don’t they?

Speaking of inspections, no one likes the idea of someone crawling around their home for a few hours with a camera and notepad making note of every crack, crevice and things that may not function to a certain standard.

Here’s the deal: inspectors are hired by the buyer to do an independent and objective evaluation of a property. The reality is they are going to find things — no property is perfect, even with brand new construction homes.

There is no secret conspiring happening behind the scenes. If the sellers are concerned about what might be found, the best way to level the playing field is to obtain their own pre-listing inspection before putting the home on the market.

8. Weekends bring out the most serious buyers

Contrary to popular belief, weekends don’t usually bring out the most serious and ready-to-buy buyers. Open houses and other open-to-the-community events tend to bring voyeurs, nosy neighbors and curiosity seekers interested in looking at decorating ideas and how other people live.

Just watch Zillow’s latest web series “Open House Obsessed” that follows people who have made a hobby out of going to open houses.

The most serious showings tend to happen during the week. In many markets, it is usually too late to wait until the weekend to look at any properties of interest.

9. Zillow says, therefore it is

When was the last time Zillow physically walked through a property, pulled relevant comparables, did specific adjustments and established an on-point range of value?

Zillow’s Zestimate gives a consumer a general idea of the value of a home — the company calls it a “starting point” — but by no means is it an exact valuation tool. Zillow can’t discern the difference between why homes on one street or in a particular area may be different value-wise versus those just two streets over.

It can’t tell the consumer why the last three sales sold for the prices they did and why a particular school is driving people to a specific neighborhood. Even Zillow’s CEO, Spencer Rascoff, sold his home for 40 percent less than the Zestimate showed in 2016!

10. It is better to price a home on the high side as the seller can always come down

This is one of the most common fallacies in real estate. Sellers want to protect their asking price so they think overpricing it is an effective defense mechanism against selling too low.

Newsflash: overpricing your home often leads to the home sitting and not receiving much interest. If a home is priced competitively from the beginning, the chances of attracting optimal traffic from the beginning greatly increases.

As a follow-up to this myth, sellers often say “well, a buyer can always make an offer,” but the problem is that when you’ve overpriced it, buyers may not look at the home in the first place, let alone put an offer in. You have to entice with the price.

11. When making an offer on a home, you need to start with a low offer

Just as sellers make a classic mistake of overpricing, buyers often make the mistake of wanting to start with a really low offer.

Although there is nothing wrong with negotiating, if the home is priced within range, an unrealistically low offer is only going to alienate the seller, and you won’t be taken seriously.

Don’t be surprised if you receive a very slight counter or no counter offer at all.

12. The longer a home is on the market, the more negotiable the deal

Not necessarily, and in fact, it may mean just the opposite. A home that lags on the market is likely sitting due to its asking price as well as its lot, layout, location or condition of the home.

An awkward layout or inferior location can also play a role. The seller may be unrealistic about their asking price or want the market to pay more than it is willing to bear.

13. Multiple price reductions mean the seller is desperate to sell

If a home has had multiple price reductions, that must mean the seller desperately needs to sell.

Price reductions are made to bring the property in line with current comparables, price it to be competitive or underprice it to help generate more traffic and interest.

Often when a seller has done several price reductions it means they are through with negotiation.

14. Multiple offers give the sellers an advantage

If a seller receives more than one offer and elects to simultaneously counteroffer all buyers, that increases their leverage and the likelihood of selling for top dollar.

Maybe but maybe not.

It can be easy to see dollar signs when there is more than one offer in hand from multiple buyers. Keep in mind that every buyer has a limit, and no one likes to be played.

Not every home is a must-have in every market, and there will always be another property that becomes available.

As a seller, if you play this card wrong, you could end up having the entire situation backfire and be forced to watch all the buyers walk away.

15. All agents are the same

Although the general process of buying or selling and the ensuing chain of events are similar, no two agents are the same, nor is their approach to real estate. The public often lumps all agents into the same bunch and considers them a commodity without really taking the time to study the differences in their approach, presentation and achievements.

As in every profession or organization, there are those who are committed to excellence, devote endless amounts of time and energy into working with buyers and sellers and are highly adept problem solvers. Others simply march to lower standards and do the bare minimum to get by.

Just as some attorneys and physicians are better than others, so are real estate agents. Some are more resourceful, responsive and creative.

Although a few photos and minimal listing description may be adequate in the eyes of one agent, another agent can’t imagine presenting a listing that wasn’t properly prepped for sale with staging, video, 3-D and a slick marketing campaign with professionally designed and produced collateral for digital and print.

In real estate, an agent can never assume, and the same goes for the public.

Cara Ameer is a broker associate and Realtor with Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. You can follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Email Cara Ameer.

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PROFARM Neighborhood Advocates
Remodeling ROI (September 2017)

Whether you’re thinking about modernizing a room in your home or rehabbing an entire house, you’ll want to make sure the money you invest in the project has a positive effect on your home’s value. Before you start tearing up tile, ripping out old plaster or buying that “handyman’s special” you’ve had your eye on, consider consulting a professional real estate appraiser about the economics of your proposed project.

You may receive good advice on questions such as:

  • Is the improvement feasible and marketable?
  • Are neighborhood trends pointing to an upward cycle?
  • How to go about it

When it comes to improving your home, don’t count on a dollar-for-dollar return on every improvement. For example, real estate appraisers have found that remodeling a kitchen or bathroom or adding a room may bring the greatest return on a homeowner’s investment. Some custom installations can actually detract from value, which appraisers call “overimprovements.”

“The latest research shows that home improvements with a relatively low cost are most likely to generate a positive cost-to-value ratio,” says Appraisal Institute President Jim Amorin. “Spending big dollars on major renovations doesn’t necessarily equate to a dollar-for-dollar return. In short: cost doesn’t necessarily equal value.”

Amorin encouraged homeowners contemplating renovation projects to compare the planned improvement to what’s standard in the community. “Projects that move a home well beyond community norms are typically not worth the cost when the owner sells the property,” he says.

Make sure essential repairs are completed before you start improving — a posh sauna won’t make up for a leaky roof. In fact, simple and relatively inexpensive repairs such as plastering and painting could earn a better return on your investment than some major improvement projects. Many buyers can’t overlook tacky paint colors, old or dirty carpet and ugly kitchen cabinets. Start with freshening up what you already have before adding new features to your home.

When deciding what to improve first, take a look around and find out what other homebuyers want. That way, you’ll select those improvements for which the market is willing to pay. Beware of overimproving.

If you do it yourself, do it right. Keep your improvements consistent with the quality of your home and the character of the neighborhood. If you decide that you can’t do the job yourself, be sure to contact a reputable contractor. Pay a fair price for improvements, not an inflated price.

Also be sure to consider energy-efficient improvements. While they may not save you a great deal of money now, as energy costs increase, so will your savings. Many buyers are looking for “green” and “smart” features in homes these days. Even something as simple as installing a smart thermostat can be an attractive bonus to buyers.

Most importantly, obtain any necessary permits to make sure your improvements are legal. Illegal improvements might not add value. In fact, work done without the necessary permits can create problems for you and the new buyer when it comes time to finalize a sales transaction.

I would be happy to discuss ideas and a strategy with you that would be appealing to buyers. Let me know how I can assist you! Thank you.

AnnalisaWeller1@gmail.com, 727-804-6566

 

Sources:

The Appraisal Institute, “Remodeling & Rehabbing: Some Valuable Hints for Homeowners,” © 2014 (http://www.appraisalinstitute.org/assets/1/7/remodeling_rehabbing_web.pdf)

Florida Realtors News, “Top return on investment? Smaller remodeling projects,” April 20, 2017 (http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?id=351064)

REALTOR Magazine, “Ugly Home Features Buyers Can’t Overlook, “ August 3, 2017

(http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2017/08/03/ugly-home-features-buyers-cant-overlook)

© 2017 Pinellas Realtor® Organization

July There's no place like home

 

                                                              Capture                                                           PROFARM Neighborhood Advocates
                                                           No Place Like Home (July 20, 2017)

Wherever you are in your real estate journey – dreaming, planning, remodeling, looking – a REALTOR® can help you along the way.

There’s no place like home… until a better house hits the market! You thought you were settled, until a “For Sale” sign showed up in front of that house you’ve been eyeing for years. Even when you are settled, there are always shifting priorities and scenarios that may prompt you to consider moving.

The kids are gone and you want to downsize, or maybe a parent is moving in with you. Perhaps you’ve just gotten married or are having a baby and need more room. Housing and family needs combined account for 72.7% of the reasons people move, according to the 2015-2016 U.S. Census Bureau.

Or you’ve got outdated appliances and have new kitchen envy. Many of the homes in Pinellas County are older housing stock, and need not only cosmetic, but in many cases safety or efficiency upgrades.

The next generation of home buyers are looking for updated interiors, well-equipped kitchens and outdoor living rooms.

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, for-sale-by-owner homes stay on the market longer and sell for $39,000 less than those sold with the help of a real estate professional.

Finding the right agent matters! An experienced agent, who knows the market and has a network of potential buyers, can help sell a home 32% faster than an inexperienced agent (study by Dr. Bennie D. Waller, Longwood University).

Whatever your life stage or wherever you are in your real estate journey, you have a partner in me to help guide and support you.

I’m ready when you are! Contact me to set up a personalized plan for your real estate goals. Thank you, Annalisa Weller

© 2017 Pinellas Realtor® Organization

Study shows blues and grays are the way to go for interiors and doors, ‘greige’ for exteriors

Homes with bathrooms painted in a powder blue or periwinkle shade sold for an average of $5,400 more — the highest sales premium of all colors analyzed.

When it comes to a home’s exterior, neutral tones, such as ‘greige,’ sold for $3,496 more than comparable homes in a different color.

by MARIAN MCPHERSON 

Furthermore, homes with front doors painted in shades of dark navy blue to slate gray sold for an extra $1,514.

On the other hand, buyers seem to be put off by style-specific features such as terracotta walls, which resulted in a $2,031 dip in sales prices. But even more than that, prospective owners seem to hate white walls: Homes that had no color whatsoever sold for an average of $4,035 less. Ouch!

“Color can be a powerful tool for attracting buyers to a home, especially in listing photos and videos,” said Zillow chief economist Svenja Gudell. “Painting walls in fresh, natural-looking colors, particularly in shades of blue and pale gray not only make a home feel larger, but also are neutral enough to help future buyers envision themselves living in the space.

“Incorporating light blue in kitchens and bathrooms may pay off especially well as the color complements white countertops and cabinets, a growing trend in both rooms,” she added.

If a seller is adamant about keeping color in the home, have them consider a pop of color on an accent wall using Pantone’s Color of The Year, Greenery, or have them incorporate jewel-toned decor pieces throughout the home.

BYMARIAN MCPHERSON     Email Marian McPherson.

7. Kitchen3

1766 Maryland Ave NE, St Petersburg, Florida

When a homeowner decides to sell their house, the number one thing that they want is, of course, the best possible price!! Right? Next, is that they want the least amount of problems to receive this price. Most sellers don’t realize all of the steps required to reach their goal. Marketing is more than sticking a sign in the yard, placing an add on Craig’s list or posting some photos on Facebook. Does the seller know how to stage the house to show it’s best appeal to the most buyers? Is the seller willing to answer phone calls 24/7, literally? Yes, at 2 in the morning when a buyer is searching the Internet! Does the seller know if the buyer is a serious buyer with their mortgage in place or are they pre-approved? In order to know all of these things & much more, a seller really needs to hire a real estate professional.

Technology has changed the buyer’s behavior during the home buying process. According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2016 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, the percentage of buyers who used the internet in their home search increased to 94%. However, the report also shows that 96% of buyers who used the internet when searching for homes purchased their homes through either a real estate agent/broker or from a builder or builder’s agent. Only 2% bought their homes directly from a seller that they didn’t know. Most of the buyers who bought homes directly from sellers (For Sale By Owner) still used a Realtor to represent them. Buyers start their search for a home online but then depend on an agent to find the home they will buy (50%), to negotiate the terms of the sale (47%) & price (36%), or to help understand the process (61%). There is so much information out there, either through the Internet or family & friends that more buyers are now reaching out to real estate professionals to help them through the very complicated process. The percentage of buyers who have used agents to buy their homes has steadily increased from 69% in 2001.


Sooooo, if you are thinking of selling your home, don’t underestimate the role a real estate professional can play in the process. The vast majority of buyers have realized that they actually need a Realtor in order to purchase their new home correctly. The laws regarding real estate change constantly & a professional Realtor will know the latest requirements & forms, as well as have a much larger audience with which to present your home in the best light.

These are some of the best “Smart Home” devices that may help to sell your home or increase the selling price of your home. Some may even help to lower the cost of your homeowner’s insurance. Worth checking out. Let me know what you think or which ones you’ve utilized.

 

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SAN FRANCISCO – Nov. 1, 2016 – Technological advances have made real estate agents especially important to millennials, according to a study by Coldwell Banker, “Wealth, real estate and the high-net-worth investor.”

http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents

The study found that over 70 percent of respondents believe agents are more important than ever, with nearly two-thirds saying they would never buy or sell a home without an agent’s help. More than half of those polled said agents are more important to the home-selection process than friends, family or digital resources.

The main reason millennials value Realtors? They recognized their own lack of experience in the sometimes complicated homebuying process.

However, technology remains important to young adults. A Realtor’s role has diminished in some areas thanks to online tools, such as mortgage calculators; easy access to taxes and other government-related information; and general background info on cities and neighborhoods.

Moreover, technology has changed the process by making it easier to respond quickly to contacts, which is a must for millennials. This demographic also takes into consideration an agent’s reputation on social networks

As a result, a Realtor’s role may not have diminished, but the study suggests that successful agents must adapt to the changing demands and expectations of today’s younger buyers.

Source: Tech.Co (10/27/16) Costa, Diogo

© Copyright 2016 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents

Annalisa Weller, Realtor®, Certified International Property Specialist

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