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Life Estates - 02/29/08 09:09 PM
Inheritances can often lead to nasty family disputes. Many times a person will remarry late in life - which leads to who will inherit the family home. Often this is solved by leaving the second spouse a "Life Estate". This means that the spouse can continue living in the home as long as possible, until death. At that point, the "remaindermen" take title and thus inherit the property. It's difficult to sell a life estate, because the term depends on the life of the person first granted the life estate. Neither is the remainder easy to sell, since the purchaser would not (12 comments)
400 Beach Drive rentals - 02/29/08 08:44 PM
400 Beach - rental market update for February 2008 400 Beach is a brand new condo building in downtown St Pete, overlooking Tampa Bay. Closing only started in December 2007 and are still ongoing. There are 93 condos in the high rise. Currently there are five units available for annual, unfurnished rentals. ranging from $3,500 to $5,000 per month and ranging in size from 2,450 sq ft (2 bedroom) to 3,288 sq ft (3 bedroom). The building is 4on Beach Drive, with lots of restaurants, shops, museum and waterfront within a couple of blocks. Onsite is a fitness center and common recreational faciities (1 comments)
It's all caused by the real estate agents - 02/29/08 08:37 PM
The implication from an article today in the St Petersburg Times is that it's all the fault of the real estate agents. Though Thorner admits there is only a small minority of bad applies in our industry, he feels it's more appropriate to blame real estate agents than to continue blaming "reckless mortgage bankers and property speculators". ??? Thornton makes two points: one particular real estate agent bought lots of property at high prices, pocketed a lot, and has let the homes go into foreclosure; "Realtors" are asking for 10% commission to list a condo.No one is forcing buyers or sellers to (12 comments)
I Can Do It Myself! - 02/29/08 07:50 PM
This has been useful to me both internally and externally. Often during a marketing consultation with prospective sellers (most of whom are corporate executives, entrepreneurs or retired executives or entrepreneurs) I'll point out that they can indeed do many of the services I provide - the question is, do they want to? Which is more important to you, time or money? In Florida, you can mow your own lawn, since our typical lot isn't very big. But - in a heat wave, do you want to be outside and risk a heart attack? For years I did my own IRS filings, with (15 comments)
"Blogging is Virtually Free" - or Is It? - 02/28/08 03:51 PM
In proofreading an article today for publication in a real estate magazine directed to agents, the discussion was on blogging and the writer made the comment that "blogging is virtually free". Certainly, it CAN be free (except for the time factor, of course), whether it's posting on Active Rain or posting on a Blogger.com site. But many times blogs are not free. Education as well may not be free. Some sites are very expensive to purchase and continue. Do you feel calling blogging "virtually free" is valid or misleading in describing it to real estate agents? (35 comments)
How to Get a Human - 02/23/08 02:42 PM
It's so frustrating to make a phone call and find yourself in Automated Hell. None of their choices of "departments" sound like the one you want, and you can't go backwards so you have to go back and or call in again and start through the choices all over again. Sorry, no last option of Speak to the Operator. The worst automated phone system I ever experienced was the US Department of Immigration - it's a wonder any non-citizen would want to come to this country after dealing with that (and we have problems when English is our native language). I read (17 comments)
New real estate terms - 02/23/08 02:33 PM
There have been many posts about abbreviations Why we shouldn't use them in ads or in posts Definitions of terms If we don't know what a wbfp or eik or siso is, how do we expect customers to?
I'd also like to compile new terms that I see being coined: garagemahal - pretty self-evident; a house where garages dominate the front of the house. solana - less obvious; it's a covered outdoor space that looks/feels like an indoor living room or salon. Any interesting new terms that you've come across? (7 comments)
What do agents want? - 02/23/08 12:50 PM
To brokers - if you want to know what your agent or prospective agent wants - ASK EACH ONE. Everyone wants something a little different. Recognize that. Maybe one wants health insurance and another wants some clerical help; one wants free parking and another wants a postage machine. ASK. You'll not only find out what's important to each of them and perhaps be able to provide it, you'll make them feel special. It's not one size fits all - it's what is the custom fit for you? A suit that's custom fit by a good tailor will always look better than one off (10 comments)
Ask not what the broker pays you; ask what YOU pay the broker. - 02/23/08 12:42 PM
Jon Washburn posted a broker/agent query and Cheryl Johnson posted a followup. Here's yet another folllowup: To me the commission split has never been about what the broker pays the agent, it's been about what the agent pays the broker. Every agent has a business (though some don't realize it). The agent needs to look at what services/benefits he's getting and what he's paying for it. If that make sense, great. If it doesn't, change it or move. In the last several years, many agents have formed teams, so that they actually have a recognizable business within a business. There are still some (15 comments)
Big problem coming: No original mortgage note? Perhaps no foreclosure. - 02/22/08 04:09 PM
As mortgage loans went from local banks to securitized "securities", determining the actual owner of an individual mortgage has become more difficult. Worse, as the mortgage loan passed from owner to owner, ultimately to bundling huge numbers of mortgages sold to thousands by brokerage firms, the original note may have been lost in the shuffle. Many of the originating lenders have gone out of business, sold, closed or filed for bankruptcy. Bloomberg posted a provocative article today revealing that "judges in at least five states have stopped foreclosure proceedings because the banks .... haven't been able to prove they own the mortgages." (15 comments)
Who's tracking you? Set your security to ask you before it sets any cookies - 02/20/08 06:42 PM
Just to see what's happening, change your settings to deny any cookies - i.e., to ask you each time a site wants to set a cookie. You'll be amazed at how many cookies are set. Even some of the widgets that are on the side of blog posts set widgets. At first you may want to forget it all - i.e., when you have to respond to a dozen cookie requests to get to a single page on the Internet. But don't you want to know who wants your information? You can allow the cookies from sites you know and like, that allow (14 comments)
Ooze and Schmooze is a new restaurant planned for 400 Beach in downtown St Petersburg. Combining the instant success of Parkshore Grille, a block away, and the renown of Ooze's owner Sir Robert Irvine of the Food Network, this seemed destined for success. I first posted about this last August. One of my clients, a few weeks ago, told me that Irvine may have been ONE of the queen's chefs, but he was never THE chef (from the UK and traveling there frequently, they speak with some authority). The last week an article about "Sir" Robert Irvine and his alleged resume was (5 comments)
Excel or Control Sheets for Blogs - 02/17/08 04:14 PM
There are many reasons to link between blogs, when we have more than one, but it's difficult to remember what you published where, which photos you used, which outside links you made. The longer you blog, the more difficult this is.Before I reinvent the wheel, does anyone have an Excel sheet or some means of control that show what you have where? It helps to have two monitors running rather than constantly switching windows, but I know there must be an easier way. (17 comments)
Broadwater Waterfront Homes - St Petersburg Florida - Market Update 2/17/2008 - 02/17/08 03:56 PM
Broadwater Waterfront Homes, St Petersburg, Florida Broadwater is a wonderful neighborhood of mostly waterfront homes, located in southwest St Petersburg. West of I-275 it is bounded on the south by the main channel leading into Maximo Marina, and on the west by Boca Ciega Bay. Most of the homes were built in the 1970s and many have been remodelled. Homes currently being built are on "lots" created by tearing down the house previously on the lot. There are 18 waterfront homes currently for sale, ranging from $525,000 to $1,500,000. Home sizes range from about 1,600 sq ft to 4,600 sq ft. (0 comments)
Parkshore Plaza Condos - Downtown St. Petersburg - Market Update 2-17-2008 - 02/17/08 03:27 PM
Parkshore Plaza on Beach Drive in downtown St Petersburg is a luxury condo completed in 2006 with 97 units and 29 stories. On the ground floor is Parkshore Grille, with indoor and outdoor dining, as well as various shops. Currently there are 16 units on the market, ranging from $679,000 to $3,000,000. These can be further sorted as follows: City homes (both flats above the shops and townhouses): 3 units from 1,686 sq ft to 2,979 sq ft), priced from $679,000 to $1,700,000. Tower units (starting on the 4th floor) 01 units have 2,384 sq ft and face north, then east (0 comments)
The NOOD races in St Petersburg, Florida - 02/16/08 05:46 PM
When you talk about this to someone, eyebrows raise, and sometimes men will leer just a bit - they're thinking NUDE sailboat races instead of NOOD (National Offshore One-Design) sailboat races. Three days of NOOD regattas are taking place in St. Petersburg, in sight of land, just off The Pier. Some 1,000 sailors are racing in this famous regatta, hosted by the St Petersburg Yacht Club, a well known sailing club. One of the racers is Jennifer French, certainly a contender. If she wins, she'll be the first female winner of NOOD, and also the first disabled winner. The St Petersburg Yacht (0 comments)
The Luxury Diva speaks - 02/16/08 05:21 PM
Laurie Moore-Moore has begun a series of videologs. Her first one talks about Sharing - the same concept of "Everything I needed to know I learned in Kindergarten" applied to luxury real estate. Luxury Diva: Sharing After you've watched this, if you'd like to see/hear more, visit the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing's site. Laurie is the founder of the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing and a renowned national speaker. (2 comments)
Bayfront Tower Condo Downtown St Petersburg FloridaMarket Update 2/16/08 - 02/16/08 05:12 PM
Bayfront Tower Condominium - downtown St Petersburg - Market Update Bayfront Tower was the first of the downtown St Petersburg water"front" condos, built in 1975. We locals consider this waterfront, since it has a wonderful, open view of the water, but in reality, two streets and two parks separate the building from the water. This is one of the largest downtown condos with 240 units. Most of the recent condo buildings have their common facilities on a lower floor, but this one has the 28th and 29th floors as common areas, so the views are magnificent. Units have just one parking (0 comments)
Showcase Event for Accessoreez and Image Creations of Florida - 02/16/08 03:33 PM
Accessoreez and Image Creations of Florida hosted a designer's showcase event in St Petersburg. I was fortunate to be invited to this private event, planned to make a quick stop for 15 minutes, and then spent over an hour there. Not only did I have a chance to talk with old friends and meet some new ones ... I saw some wonderful wearable art, some for me and some for my home. Linda and Jack Albrecht, friends and clients, have been serving the Tampa Bay interior design community for more than a dozen years - creating wonderful cast paper art, providing unique (9 comments)
St Petersburg Older Condos near downtown - 02/16/08 02:32 PM
A comment to a recent post of mine on downtown St Petersburg luxury condosmentioned condos, probably 40 years old or so,...that are simple, have views, and have an old time laid back feel. More like old St. Pete I imagine than the Miami feel some of the newer condos give off. The specific reference was to a complex called Whispering Waters where a 1 bedroom condo starts at $177,000. (a 55+ community). Nearby are: Shore Crest condo, starting at $175,000 for a 1 bedroom condo (also a 55+ building), North Shore Normandy, starting at $229,000 (no age restriction) Harbour Hill, starting at $224,900 (55+) and (3 comments)
Is Print Advertising on its way out? - 02/15/08 05:58 PM
Kevin May posted a blog stating that print isn't on its way out. While I disagree with his conclusion (I think it's declining but won't die) I'm in agreement on both the need for marketing and how to compose an ad to attract attention. On the internet, and in your blog, you also need a good headline. You need to convey emotion. You need to tell a story. You need to set the tone. One advantage of the internet is that you aren't limited in size - use enough space to really tell the story, to really touch (17 comments)
Average prices don't really tell you about the market - 02/15/08 05:45 PM
After showing a prospect some downtown St Petersburg condos this afternoon, we sat down to sort through what we'd seen. He asked me, "What's going to happen with prices? Are condos going down more than houses?" Other than not having a crystal ball, I can say that in both condos and houses some are going to do well and some are not. The average price change isn't going to help you. Let's talk about which building (or which neighborhoods) are likely to show more price drops than others. Despite the newspaper statistics you read, there are still some building and some neighborhoods (12 comments)
Protecting our buyers if the condo doesn't meet financing guidelines - 02/15/08 04:46 PM
This is a follow-up to my post on blacklisted condos, condos that don't qualify under normal financing guidelines: Some contract forms provide that when a buyer is approved for his loan, all contingencies are removed; some contract forms don't limit the interest rate that a buyer will pay or limit the type of loan to be pursued. If we're representing a buyer, we don't want to risk having the buyer lose his deposit because the building he's buying in isn't a building his lender will loan on. Nor do we want him to be obligated to a high interest rate loan because of (5 comments)
Sorry - this condo isn't approved - 02/15/08 04:37 PM
As if we didn't have enough challenges getting buyers qualified - As if there weren't concerns about declining prices ... The Daily Business Review published an article about "blacklisted" condos, and talked a lot about the Miami market. However, what happens in Miami doesn't stay in Miami. It could come to your market, too, and mine. Part of the cause for our prices declines were the number of properties bought by speculators to flip. Now - if you can find a buyer for one of these condos, the lender may turn down the loan because the condo doesn't have at least 70% owner (4 comments)
Downtown St Petersburg Luxury Condos - 02/10/08 04:55 PM
Downtown St Petersburg, Florida A few years ago I added a new niche to my business - luxury downtown condos in St. Petersburg, Florida. St Pete has transformed from a sleepy town of retired folks to a vibrant lifestyle that's in demand. Within the last decade five luxury condominium projects have been built along* the waterfront and others have been built within a few blocks of there. From a location and planning perspective, what makes downtown St Pete unique is that these waterfront* condos aren't lined up along the water, blocking the views from everyone going by - along the waterfront is a (16 comments)
Albert Whitted Park, downtown St Petersburg, Florida - 02/09/08 05:36 PM
Albert Whitted Park in downtown St Petersburg, Florida, will be dedicated tomorrow, Sunday, February 10, 2008. The is the latest addition to St. Petersburg's magnificent waterfront park system. This was a parking lot in its last life and is across from the Mehaffey Theater and future site of the Dali Museum, along the water, and adjacent to Albert Whitted Airport. Dedication is at 1:30 pm. Grand Opening Celebration, put on by the Albert Whitted Airport Preservation Society, is from 10 am to 4 pm and will include: aircraft displaysAngel Flight exhibitcontrol tower tours free Young Eagles flightssimulator ridesaviation activities and crafts for kids.great (0 comments)
Advertising: the Principle of Sacrifice - 02/09/08 05:21 PM
You've no doubt heard that you should target market. You shouldn't advertise to everybody, because you'll find nobody. Eliminate the people who won't buy a home anyway, and find those who will accept the property you're marketing with all its warts. This morning I saw a 1/4 page ad in the Wall St Journal - no property photos, a subtle colored background and a small head shot of the agent - but the text caught my eye: The first owner was Old Blue Eyes.The new one must be someone with vision. See yourself living in a one-of-a-kind apartment once owned by Frank Sinatra? Well, (9 comments)
Buyer Wants Central Florida - has a Seaplane - 02/09/08 05:12 PM
Normally I'd just send out a referral for this buyer, but his needs are unique enough that I thought I'd see if any of you know of an appropriate property first: This retired couple needs a lakefront propertyl. They are scheduled to close on their home up north in two weeks. They know that a more rural area will be more affordable - i.e., they think Sebring would be more affordable than Lakeland or Winter Haven. However - since they're retired they have more flexibility in location than someone commuting to a job. They'll spend up to $400,000 for a home, or up (4 comments)
Pinellas County Florida Condo Prices going back - but not as far as Homes - 02/09/08 04:43 PM
The Pinellas Realtor® Organization has released Sales Trends for Pinellas County, Florida. This market update shows that the median price (January to January) has dropped to a level between 2005 and 2006: 2003 $ 94,0002004 $140,0002005 $159,0002006 $187,0002007 $200,0002008 $168,000 The absorption rate for January 2008 was 2.9%. Condo statistics are less reliable than single family home statistics in the MLS reports because new condo developers are not consistent in whether or not the properties are recorded in the MLS. As I've pointed out before, median prices don't tell the whole story. In the residential sales reported for Pinellas County in this week's Tampa Bay (0 comments)
Pinellas County Florida Single Family Home Prices going back - way back - 02/09/08 04:26 PM
Pinellas County, Florida (St. Petersburg and Clearwater are the principal cities) is considered by lenders a "Declining Market" but we should be glad we're only a 4, since areas like Miami are 5. Here's a market update: The median price of single family homes has dropped below the median in 2003! January statistics show: 2003 $183,0002004 $186,0002005 $217,0002006 $220,0002007 $210,0002008 $177,000 This doesn't mean the price of any particular home has gone down that much, but that more people are buying less expensive homes, thus dragging the median price down. Even production builders are downsizing the size of their homes, and say that more (0 comments)
Vinoy Place Luxury Condos St Petersburg Florida - Market Update February 1, 2008 - 02/08/08 07:47 PM
Vinoy Place Luxury Condos St Petersburg Florida - Market Update February 1, 2008 The Vinoy Place condos consist of 102 units - 4 towers that are 13 stories each, and a handful of townhomes to the south of the towers. Most of the luxury condos in downtown St Pete are along Beach Drive, looking out over the parks to Tampa Bay. Vinoy Place, just around the corner on Fifth Avenue, has the luxury of looking at the skykline of downtown St Pete as well as out into Tampa Bay. The units are also known for their large, wrap around balconies. They were (7 comments)
400 Beach luxury condo St Petersburg Florida Market Update February 1, 2008 - 02/08/08 07:25 PM
400 Beach luxury condo St Petersburg Florida - Market Update - February 1, 2008 This week the official Grand Opening of 400 Beach took place. Several condos have already closed, 15 in December and 21 in January (nearly 40% of the 93 units). None of the restaurants and shops are open yet. Nonetheless, this was the Ribbon Cutting, complete with Mayor Rick Baker, who yet again proclaimed, "It's a wonderful day in St. Petersburg!" Prices on the closed sales at 400 Beach range from $577,150 to $1,685,000. More than half of the units sold above $1 Million. 13 units in 400 Beach are currently (0 comments)
Downtown St Petersburg Condo Rentals - Market Update February 1, 2008 - 02/08/08 07:07 PM
Downtown St Petersburg Condo Rentals - Market Update February 1, 2008 Several people have called us inquiring about seasonal rentals in downtown St Pete - not likely. Most of the condo buildings in downtown St Petersburg have minimum rental periods of one year. Some of them have a shorter rental period, but only allow one rental a year. For seasonal rentals, the most likely places are Isla del Sol or along the Gulf Beaches. Back to downtown St Petersburg: The newest of the new, 400 Beach Drive, only began closings in December 2007. Current offering range from $4,000/month to $5,500/month, with an annual lease. Other (0 comments)
Straub Park St Petersburg now has lighted trees - 02/08/08 06:50 PM
Straub Park St Petersburg Florida has a new look. A few days ago, while driving to the Renaissance Vinoy Resort for my daily 5:30 am exercise regime, I saw these lighted trees. Christmas decorations had been taken down weeks ago, so this was rather surprising. Chef Robert Irvine, who is opening the Ooze and Schmooze Restaurants at 400 Beach, the just opening luxury condo development in downtown St Petersburg, is sponsoring the lights in order to make the park more pedestrian friendly at night. What do the locals have to say about this? Though they like the idea of lighted trees, they object to (2 comments)
St Petersburg opening Vatican Exhibit at Florida International Museum - 02/08/08 06:31 PM
Vatican Exhibit at the Florida International Museum St Petersburg Florida February 9 - May 11, 2008 Yesterday evening was the VIP reception for the opening of the Vatican Exhibit at the Florida International Museum in downtown St Petersburg, Florida. As a founding member of the Board of Directors of Florida International Museum, I was also privileged to attend the pre-VIP reception to meet the Italian dignitaries here for the opening. The reception was hosted at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort, following which the guests were shuttled to the Florida International Museum, just a few blocks away, for a preview of the exhibit, which (2 comments)
How do you attract international buyers? - 02/06/08 07:40 PM
Lupe Soto recently commented on my post on attracting international buyers by asking how to advertise or attract these international buyers. Perhaps many of you are thinking the same question. Although I've advertised in many international publications, both in English and in native languages, that hasn't generated buyers for me. There have been too many advertisements in too many places, and real buyers are afraid of the snake-oil salesman and the peddlers of swamp land. International business is all about relationships. Check out your area - determine which organizations are most involved in international business - join them - and really get (9 comments)
After being away for two weeks, this is how we were greeted! Today is Mardi Gras and Amy was determined to be happy all day - and how could that enthusiasm not be infectuous?
As I've probably mentioned before, Having Fun is part of out Team Mission Statement. We work hard and we play hard, and we think it's important for our clients to have fun during the buying and selling process.
It was only later in the day that Amy opened her folder "Things to Discuss with Sharon and Tami". Everything was under control as usual - we can't beat having Rob (10 comments)
PRICE - we have the power to turn the real estate market around - 02/03/08 03:30 PM
One of the most significant points from the recent CRS Sellabration is Pricing. Price right. Yes, I know we all know this. We know to price right, and have the dialogues, and have the statistics to back us up. We know that overpriced listings should be turned down, and we do it constantly. So, why is this worth commenting about yet again? Look at the inventory levels in most parts of the country. Is not the number of homes on the market a factor in buyer indecision and buyer procrastination? Is not length of time on the market a factor in communications with (94 comments)
Wiki Wiki Java - 02/02/08 12:15 PM
Wiki Wiki Java We're always on the lookout for unique, local coffee shops. On Oahu we found this one on the North Shore. just slightly off the "round route". (I've been trying to upload a photo for two days, without success, so will just post without it. Maybe after I'm home I'll be able to upload it and edit it in). Who would be interested in visiting "Fast Food Coffee" or "Quick Coffee" Not me. But Wiki Wiki Java was enticing - even though Wiki Wiki is Hawaiian for fast-fast. There was seating outside, both shaded and sunny. Everyone sitting there smiled and said (10 comments)
Look for the imperfection, the uniqueness - 02/02/08 11:56 AM
As old saying went that when craftsmen created something, they always had to have some small imperfection, so that it would not be an affront to the gods. One of the beauties of something bespoke is the individuality. When something is handmade, even when someone intends to make the same thing over and over, there are slight differences. Each piece of wood, each rock, has its uniqueness. Buyers pay for uniqueness, owners appreciate uniqueness. Want to thrive in real estate? Keep your uniqueness. (4 comments)
The twinkle in your eye means you've found your home - 02/02/08 11:47 AM
Jeff Dowler wrote about the question: "What will you do when you find the house that gives you goosebumps?" Buyers get goosebumps, perhaps, and we get a feeling in the gut that it's the right house. I often tell buyers that we'll know the right house when you get that Twinkle in Your Eye. It's all about when a house feels like a home, when it calls to you to come in and get comfortable. It may or may not meet the list of features you've listed, but it meets those basic underlying needs. Look in their eyes, or each other's eyes, (2 comments)
You can't take Real Estate out of the Real Estate Agent - 02/02/08 11:39 AM
When we travel, we may not go to Open Houses (though that's not out of the question) and we may not visit Model Homes; we may not check our e-mail and we may have left our cell phone at home or back in the room, or at least turned it off; we may not think about our clients and unsold listings and unclosed escrows, but we do look at home prices (and styles) in the newspapers;pick up real estate magazines to see what's going on in the areand check our trends, as well as any innovative advertising. No question, we want to see where Real Estate (2 comments)
Blue Stop Sign - 02/01/08 09:59 AM
Blue Hawaii You may have heard the song Blue Hawaii, but we were stopped in our tracks :) when we saw this blue stop sign. In fact, I made Tami turn around and go back so I could take a picture of it. We're so used to seeing things a certain way, that this blue sign really made us aware. It was on the north shore of Oahu, and may have been a private sign of the resort, but it did make you aware as you got back out on the main road. Unlike my earlier post on the color of Yield signs, (5 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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