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Reading news online - 06/30/07 10:17 AM
Many newspapers are having difficulties because of decreased subscriptions and decreased advertising revenue. I believe much of the reason for both of these is the internet. Many of us want to get a broader perspective from the news - perhaps what's going on in a former hometown, or a place we're soon to be moving to - or the location of our second home. Perhaps we want the perspective of the Wall St Journal or the NY Times but don't want to be carrying around a bulky, heavy newspaper that destroys trees. Perhaps we want the global perspective of news from the (15 comments)
Forbes says Tampa is #1 for Buyers - 06/30/07 09:09 AM
Forbes.com reports: "If you're searching for property in Tampa, luck is on your side. Too many listed homes and not enough buyers means you've got the upper hand.Want all-new appliances or $20,000 knocked off the asking price before you sign? Chances are, sellers there are willing to comply." We've reported before that St. Pete has four times the inventory than 2 years ago, and 40% less sales. That translates to lots of opportunities. Tampa and surrounding areas with new construction and national builders have lots of opportunities. Want a car? A vacation? A year of property taxes and/or insurance? Furniture? Or just a (0 comments)
Luxury Home Tour in Vail - 06/30/07 07:54 AM
As part of NAR's recent Resort Symposium, many of us had the opportunity to tour several luxury homes. Five busses unleashed real estate agents to tour luxury homes in the Vail Valley of Colorado, ranging from $6 million to $25 million. This tour was not for the faint of heart. At high altitudes, we still had to show our endurance as we walked up and down roads and driveways beyond where the busses could go, and as we climbed stairs in the multi-level residences. The first thing we noticed was that most of these homes did not have air conditioning! Heresy for (5 comments)
Record Residences Around the World - 06/30/07 07:36 AM
Recently I commented that the wealthy in India increased by 20% last year. Lakshmi Mittal, CEO of Mittal Steel, spent over $100,000 for a mansion in London in 2004. This is just one of his residences. Mukesh Ambani, another Indian billionaire industrialist, is currently building a skyscraper in Mumbai for his family and staff. Though only 27 stories, the height is equivalent to a 60 story building. Six floors are for parking his 168 cars. Ambani currently has a 14 story residence. In contrast, Warren Buffet still lives in the home he bought in Omaha in 1958 for $31,500. Sharon Simms, Real Estate Agent selling (0 comments)
Largest Residential Compound in the US - 06/30/07 07:21 AM
Notice that I've used the word "compound" instead of "home" because homes of the rich today often include additional buildings (as opposed to former wings of buildings) for guests and staff. The largest that I know of is 110,000 sq ft, which is a 29 bedroom mansion on Long Island built by Ira Rennert, an industrialist, in 1998. The neighbors sued the town of Southhampton, but lost. The property was deemed to be a residence, albeit a huge one. If you know of a larger residence, please let me know. Sharon Simms, Real Estate Agent selling homes in St. Petersburg, Florida, the Gulf Beaches and (8 comments)
The Rich are Getting Richer - 06/28/07 08:50 AM
The annual Capgemini - Merrill Lynch World Wealth Report is just out. 9.5 million people held at least $1,000,000 in financial assets, exclusing their homes.These people control about 25% of the world's wealth.The combined wealth of the world's richest people rose more than 11% last year.The "super-rich" who have over $30 million in assets also rose 11% last yearThe largest expansion of the richest, over 20% increases, was in India and Singapore.Sharon Simms, Real Estate Agent selling homes in St. Petersburg, Florida, the Gulf Beaches and the Tampa Bay area. (7 comments)
How do you want your blogger's comment responses? Single or Multiple? - 06/24/07 10:11 AM
There have been previous discussions about bloggers responding to those who comment on their posts. Most commenters DO want a response. a) it's polite. b) it can start a dialogue. A blogger does not get points for responding (nor should he), but her post does count as a comment. How often a blogger responds of course depends on how many comments come in between the times the blogger is on line. Still, some respond to many commenters in a single comment. Others make a separate post for each comment response. How do you, as a commenter, feel? Does it matter to you whether (19 comments)
Seller's Version of a Broker's Open House? - 06/24/07 10:00 AM
This week Rob and I went out on a listing appointment - a waterfront home just over $1 Million. Having run comps and knowing the neighborhood, we suspected that this price was too high for the neighborhood. We were pleasantly surprised by the home, its location, landscaping and amenities, and decided that it was indeed worth that price range. We learned that the seller had invited five agents to interview - their marketing plans, their price estimates, their approach to selling his house. Each represented a different company or brand, and a few of them were top agents likely to have a (5 comments)
Dry cleaners improve customer service - 06/23/07 09:05 PM
It's the little things that count - or at least, those are the things we remember. When I picked up my dry cleaning this week, they brought a bottle of cold water out with the clothes - they said they're doing this through the summer. What a nice gesture to show they care about their clients and their comfort. I've had hotel valets provide this, and Enterprise Car Rentals, and title companies, and open houses, and broker offices - but this was the first from a dry cleaner. We need to realize our competition isn't just other real estate agents and (7 comments)
Blame or Responsibility - 06/21/07 09:14 PM
Don Homan blogged today posing the question about an overpriced listing, and whether the agent was responsible for not advertising it enough or whether the broker was responsible because he didn't check the pricing. None of the multiple choice answers were: the agent, because he priced it wrong and took an overpriced listing. We have discipline problems in some of our public schools - the teacher's to blame, the school district's to blame, let's sue somebody. Where has individual responsibility gone? None of us are perfect - no individual or company does everything right. The true test comes when something goes wrong (7 comments)
Where did it go? - 06/19/07 10:22 PM
Enough questions about "Who Moved My Cheese?" - My question is: "Who moved my Dashboard?" After reading some featured posts I wanted to go to my Dashboard, then to my Subscribed list of posts from colleagues I don't want to miss reading. It was gone. There were several choices above the Featured Posts, but none of them took my to the familiar Dashboard. OK - somebody wanted to rearrange the furniture. So - where do I go now to find my subscribed colleagues blogs??? Sharon Simms, Real Estate Agent selling homes in St. Petersburg, Florida, the Gulf Beaches and the Tampa Bay area. p.s. (11 comments)
LuxuryProperty.com Update - 06/19/07 09:03 PM
If you’ll recall I met with Daniel Waterman and Mike Murphy of LuxuryProperty.com earlier this year in Austin about their upcoming website. It turns out that LuxuryProperty.com is gaining ground on their upcoming debut at the Real Estate Connect Conference in San Francisco on August 1, 2007. LuxuryProperty.com is looking to make huge waves in the “Web 2.0” Upper-Tier real estate market….soon! The simple-yet-sophisticated web platform will display a heavy emphasis on the recent technology improvements of web video, blogging, virtual tours, and social networking. The rich and captivating multimedia property presentations should revolutionize the way the world experiences Upper-Tier real (12 comments)
"Richistan" by Robert Frank - 06/17/07 09:31 AM
It's been shipped from amazon and should be here in time for me to read on my flight to Denver next weekend. The book was released June 5th and Frank talks about it in his blog that day. Robert Frank, of the Wall Street Journal, spoke at the Leaders in Luxury conference in Dallas last fall, and gave us some of the information in the book. I was enticed, and signed up on the waiting list right away. The really wealthy may not live in a different world, but they do live in a different country, one Frank calls Richistan. You (7 comments)
Vrrroom Room! Harley lovers wanted. - 06/17/07 09:21 AM
In the latest twist to attract buyers to inventory homes here in Tampa Bay Florida, Cambridge Homes had this full page ad this morning: Vrrroom Room! There's a Harley in the House For buyers who purchase an inventory home in one of their communities (and oh, by the way, use their specified mortgage company) Cambridge will give the buyer a free 2007 Harley-Davidson Softail Fat Boy motorcycle. Most of the builders are trying to package their buyer incentives in ways that will attract more interested prospects than just a cash discount. I would imagine they've (5 comments)
Staging for Photos - Basic 101 - 06/16/07 08:03 PM
One look at typical MLS photos tells you that some agents missed Basic 101. It's 102 that tells you about arranging furniture, or adding color. It's 102 that tells you to time your photos to when the sun is shining on the house. Basic 101 says - remove the garbage or shoot around it. Pick up the dirty clothes. Take the stuff off the kitchen and bathroom counters. Move the garbage can from the end of the driveway. Pick up the fallen branches or rusty bicycles on the walkway. Put the lids down on the toilets. Do we really want to (6 comments)
How do you fit in exercise? - 06/16/07 07:06 PM
Sorry, but I'm one who has always fought and resisted exercise. When I started on my Medi Weight Loss diet six months ago (and 61 pounds ago) one of the ingredients was to exercise every day. For three months I kept trying to fit it into my schedule, and never did. It's hot here in Florida. Can't do it in the middle of the day - takes too much time. Wanted to do it at the end of the day, but was always too exhausted to do it (yes, I know, that would cure the exhaustion). My mornings are precious - not only (12 comments)
New condos from an ALF - 06/16/07 06:45 PM
Overvue Condos Certus Development, LLC is transforming a building into condominiums, ranging from the $200,000s to the $600,000s. Located at 939 Beach Dr NE in St Petersburg, it's only a few blocks from downtown, on the edge of The Old Northeast neighborhood, and overlooking some of St Pete's wonderful parks along Tampa Bay. You can walk to restaurants, shops, the movies, art museums, art-music-food festivals, and lots of parks. When I first knew this building, a few years ago, it was an Assisted Living facility and we were moving my mother there. After a trial in that "cruiseship without the boat" she (2 comments)
Code Protected Lockboxes - 06/16/07 06:35 PM
Yes, I've blogged about them before. I just had a call from an agent wanting to show one of my listings. I took his contact information, and then asked - when do you want to show it? The response: "I'm here now and I can't get in." Since the owner was away, it was ok to show without notice and I gave him the code. Then he asked, "Why do you use this code anyway? I've never seen one of those before." I wanted to say - "Just because of people like you, who don't make appointment and just show up at (10 comments)
Time To Read - 06/16/07 06:27 PM
If you're a voracious reader, you always find the time to read. It's a priority in your life, so it finds a time. For me, I read while I'm on the treadmill in the morning. I always have a book in my car so if I have to wait for a client, I have something to read. When I did Open Houses, I'd always bring a book. In the bathroom, there's always a book (in the house we had in Tennessee, we even designed a bookcase over a storage cabinet that kept books within reach). When I'm in the pool after a (11 comments)
Yun, NAR Economist, Optimistic about Tampa Bay housing market - 06/15/07 07:01 PM
Lawrence Yun, senior economist for the National Association of Realtors and David Lereah's successor, spoke recently at the Greater Tampa Association of Realtors. Despite this year's hiousing bubble, he pointed out that rising incomes and decklining home prices should have stimulated sales here. Yun felt the true measure of affordability is the mortgage obligation relative to income - and showed the Tampa-St Petersburg-Clearwater area at about the national average. He saw nothing alarming in this aream, and a very manageable market. He not only pointed out speculators leaving the market, strong job creation and baby boomers buying second homes as positive (2 comments)
Hitting the SEND button too soon on e-mail - 06/15/07 06:53 PM
There are stories of horror and embarrasment about people who hit the SEND button too soon on an e-mail, or who hit Reply To All instead of replying to an individual, or who sent an e-mail inadvertently to their whole address book. It's easy to type out a reply when you're emotional, and intentionally or not, hit SEND before you've cooled down and thought the situation through. Rather than rely on yourself not to hit the wrong button, or to hit it prematurely, when you have an emotional situation, I'd suggest you write your message in Word or Google Docs, save it (9 comments)
Florida special legislative session addresses property tax situation - 06/15/07 06:47 PM
High insurance and high property taxes have been a major part of our slowed market. Insurance issues were addressed during the regular session of the Florida legislature - though the result seems to be reduced increases rather than rollbacks of premiums and an assumption of some reinsurance role by the State of Florida in case of disaster. After 3 days in special session, the legislature passed two prongs regarding property tax reductions. Counties will have to roll back taxes from 3% - 9% (though there are provisions for the counties to override this). Further, legislators proposed a new higher homestead exemption: 75% (6 comments)
The Naked Diet - Part VII - 06/15/07 06:32 PM
The Naked Diet - Part VII Here we are, Amy and I, six months after starting our medical weight loss program (appetite suppresant pills, B-12 shots, reduced calories of 500/day of meats, fish, poultry, veal, seafood, eggs and exercise). I've been on hold for the month, handing on to my 61 pound loss. Amy has lost another 10 pounds, for a total of 92 pounds lost! We both feel great, and have lots more energy than we ever had. Amy walks around her neighborhood every morning - I go to the Vinoy Hotel gym at 5 am five mornings a week to walk (17 comments)
Why do they choose you? - 06/09/07 11:26 PM
This afternoon I met with an owner who had been trying to sell his house for about two months - at a neighborhood quarterly meeting this week he asked me to come over this weekend. We talked, adjusted the price, discussed the market, and he decided he'd like me to list his home, and I decided I'd like to. Usually I ask why someone chose me - this time I didn't. The owner was in my farm area, so I felt it was because of my visibility, my strong market share, that I've sold many more homes here than anyone else, because (40 comments)
Price with 00s or Price with 99s or Price with odd numbers - 06/09/07 10:08 PM
In responding to a client's e-mail regarding a price reduction on their listing, I had recommended a price of $800,000 rather than $795,000. The response asked whether the $800,000 would be a SELLING price. I started my response by commenting that in this buyer's market (a 2 year supply of homes) it was very unlikely to get a full price offer. Then I decided to check the MLS for statistics before sending the response. It surprised me. Since the first of the year, more than five months, 12 waterfront properties listed between $775,000 and $825,000 had sold. Two were listed at $800,000. Both (22 comments)
Purses and Passion - St Petersburg, Florida - 06/09/07 06:15 PM
Saturday, June 9, 2007 is the Opening Exhibit of Purses and Passion at The Studio@ 620. a unique fundraiser for the YWCA. The exhibition of 100 photos of women and their purses has some stunning color photos. Equally exciting is the process - professional photographers teamed with YWCA girls and taught them to interview, record and photograph! The exhibit has photos from both groups - and you'd be hard pressed to tell some of them apart, After a bruncheon on Sunday there will be a quick tour of the photographs again, and then they will move to The Arts Center on Central Avenue (2 comments)
100 Beach Drive NE #701 St Petersburg, Florida - 06/09/07 04:18 PM
The Florencia is a beautiful luxury condominium in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. It was built by JMC Communities in 2000 and set the standard for luxury vertical living in the area. Unit #701, the Marsala, is a 3 bedroom 3 bath unit available at $1,150,000. Curved window walls overlook Tampa Bay. There are balconies on both the east and north sides. Great amenities. Visual tour of Unit #701 Visual tour of the Florencia Sharon Simms, Real Estate Agent selling homes in St. Petersburg, Florida, the Gulf Beaches and the Tampa Bay area. (2 comments)
Did any of you see this 6" x 10.5" ad in today's Wall Street Journal? I see that as one more example of what the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing does for its members. You may already know that when a reader searches the Wall St Journal on line or its sister site RealEstateJournal that the search for a luxury agent leads to members of the Institute and its designees. Check the Institute's site for more information. CLHMS classes this month are in Coral Gables, Florida June 11-12; in Houston June 21-22 (for Texas agents only); in Vail, Colorado June 27-28. The (4 comments)
Housing Souffle - 06/08/07 05:45 PM
This morning in one of the newspapers I read an article with two opposing views of the future of the housing market. One said that prices would decline another 40%, going down 10-12% a year for the next few years. The other said, we don't have a housing bubble, we have a "housing souffle". I love that term. Not a soft market - a souffle! It has class, and lightness, pizazz and taste. A housing souffle! Sharon Simms, Real Estate Agent selling homes in St. Petersburg, Florida, the Gulf Beaches and the Tampa Bay area. (8 comments)
Caladesi Island Beach is #2 in US says Dr. Beach - 06/08/07 05:34 PM
Every year Stephen Leatherman, known as Dr. Beach, rates the ten best beaches in the U.S. Generally it's a beach in Hawaii or Florida. The highest ranking this year, though, for a Florida Beach is #2 which went to Caladesi Island State Park beach in Clearwater. Florida also had #9 - Lighthouse Point Park in Daytona Beach and #10, Siesta Beach in Sarasota. Hawaii had 2 beaches on the list this year - #4 is Hanalei Beach on Kauai and #6 is Hamoa Beach on Maui. The #1 beach is ----- (drum roll) ----- Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach in the Outer Banks (2 comments)
Should the Size of Homes Be Regulated? - 06/06/07 02:20 PM
There was a blurb this morning in USA Today that Boulder, Colorado is considering limiting the size of homes that can be built there. Isn't this a little too much government over private rights? Perhaps they could designate the % of a parcel that could be structure. Perhaps they could - and should - require design compatability with the neighborhood. Perhaps certain landscaping should soften a home. Perhaps they could require a certain % of window area or decorative finishes. I've seen smaller homes that stick out as ugly in a neighborhood where a larger one was tastefully done and fits in. (16 comments)
Bank of America's new No Closing Cost Loans - 06/05/07 07:44 PM
The benefits to a buyer of having no closing costs is rather self-evident (though, like any other mortgage product, it isn't good for everyone, so have your lender explain your options) it also includes playing the title costs for the seller (at the title company of the seller's choosing). We've used this in negotiations a few times in the the last two weeks. When seller and buyer are apart, adding this savings of a couple thousand dollars to the seller without it being charged to the buyer has been a way of bringing the transaction together. Just one more arrow in (5 comments)
Gizmos and Grazrs - 06/05/07 07:41 PM
There's a lot to be said for some of the widgets we're seeing on blogs, but I noticed in scrolling rapidly to the end of a blog (for example, when I've typed in the Fruit incorrectly and just want to get back to the bottom to retry) that I can't scroll down until I wait for the Gizmo/Grazr to load. That aspect is frustrating. Why should the time it takes to load prevent me from scrolling down the rest of the page? Perhaps that's something that can be fixed. (5 comments)
The Cloisters was the first of the "new" condos along Beach Drive in downtown St. Petersburg, and was completed in 2000. There are 3 units per floor, with a common lobby foyer. These are beneath the Penthouse level. On the ground floor is Market Express, with quick prepared foods and some basics to walk home with. Enjoy the early morning freshness with a wonderful cup of expresso at one of their sidewalk tables. There are currently two Cloisters condos for sale, one with 1,842 sq ft at $749,500 and the other with 2,694 (3 comments)
The Florencia luxury condominium in St Petersburg Florida Market Update for May 2007 - 06/02/07 03:53 PM
The Florencia luxury condominiums St Petersburg Florida Market Report for May 2007 The Florencia is a luxury condo building completed by JMC in 2001 with 50 condominium units and 2 retail condominiums on the ground floor. Few units come on the market here. There are currently two Florencia condominiums for sale, one with 2,630 sq ft for $1,299,000 and another with 3,000 sq ft for $1,975,000. A third unit will be coming on the market in June, with 2,700 sq ft for $1,100,000. There are three floor plans in the building, and this is a rare time when one of each floor plan will (3 comments)
400 Beach Luxury Condominium in downtown St Petersburg, Florida
This condo is scheduled for completion in the Spring of 2008. Trim work and painting is currently being done on the retail shops and city homes surrounding the tower building. There are three 400 Beach condominium units available for purchase at this time: 3,534 sq ft on the 12th floor for $1,779,000; 3,293 sq ft on the 20th floor for $1,950,014 and 4,300 sq ft on the 26th floor for $2,475,000. Construction is still partially blocking the roads around the building: 4th Ave N, 5th Ave N, and Beach Drive. Straub Park, just across Beach Drive from (3 comments)
Vinoy Place luxury condominiums St Petersburg Florida Market Update for May 2007 - 06/02/07 03:35 PM
Vinoy Place luxury condominiums downtown St Petersburg, Florida Vinoy Place consists of four towers and several luxurious townhomes facing the Vinoy Basin and Tampa Bay in downtown St. Petersburg, adjacent to the Renaissance Vinoy Hotel. There are currently 6 condominium units for sale in Vinoy Place. They range from $799,900 for 1,793 sq ft to $2,799,000 for a 4,326 sq ft townhouse. Prices range from $346 to $693 per sq ft. One Vinoy Place condo is under contract, which is listed at $1,250,000. Two Vinoy Place condos have sold in 2007, one with 2,023 sq ft for $760,000 and the other with 3,630 sq ft for (3 comments)
Parkshore Plaza - St Petersburg, Florida Parkshore Plaza is a great highrise (30 stories) luxury condominium in downtown St Petersburg on Beach Drive NE. It was finished mid-summer 2006.
At the end of May 2007 there were 17 condos active on the market, one 1,422 sq ft townhouse at $569,000 and 16 condos in the tower, ranging from $799,000 for 2,384 sq ft to $3,500,000 for 5,600 sq ft. Prices per sq ft range from $335 to $684.
One condo went to contract in May 2007 and one sold in May 2007 - the same unit. Unit #601 with 2,384 sq ft sold for (3 comments)
Showing Property in the Rain - 06/01/07 06:56 PM
We've been so short of rain that lakes and ponds are drying up, docks are out of the water, lawns are brown, and watering restrictions apply. Also, like never before, we may wake up to the smell of smoke from fires hundreds of miles away. This weekend it looks like rain, which already started today. Naturally all of the team is scheduled to be showing property! I tell clients if the house looks good in the rain, you know it will be wonderful in the sunshinewhat better time to see if the roads or property are likely to floodgood time to check for (17 comments)
Information on Real Estate, Properties, Traditions, Neighborhoods, Market Activity and other items of interest in the Tampa Bay area (St Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, Bradenton) and the Gulf Beaches, Florida.
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