Saturday, July 26, 2014

New Facebook Page for Manasota Key

I've just added a Facebook page for Manasota Key.  I'll be posting regular beach reports from first hand account, interesting photos, and updates for the latest events on the island.

I invite you to like the page and share your photos and experiences:

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Another Tropical Storm Misses Florida

As of this writing, another tropical storm is hitting the Carolinas and is forecast to strike New England.

One of the most frequent questions I get from customers is about storms amd hurricanes and flood insurance.

As tropical storm Arthur is demonstrating, other parts of the country are hit as much if not more than Florida, and the Tampa/Sarasota area in particular.  On, Tampa ranks 20th out of all cities affected by a storm or hurricane since 1871.

The hype about hurricanes and flood insurance are just that.  If you are moving here from the eastern seaboard, you will probably be seeing the same flood insurance risks as our area.

Friday, June 20, 2014

0 for 3: Trulia's Michael Corbett on Fox and Friends June 20

On today's June 20th edition of Fox and Friends, Michael Corbett again appeared for his regular Friday "report" on affordable homes from Trulia.

The problem, as I have documented in the past, is that few if any of the homes Corbett profiles on Fox and Friends are actually available for sale.  Fox News may finally be getting it; the segment seemed noticeably shorter today.

Here are the homes Corbett profiled on Fox and Friends:

1) Charlotte, NC: $199,000, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2000 sq ft colonial style brick front. shows zero homes for sale in Charlotte with these exact parameters.

2) Huntsville, AL: $200,000, 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2000 sq ft brick front ranch.  Once again, zero homes found for sale in Huntsville on

3) Tyler, TX: $187,500, 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1600 sq ft, cottage style home.  Zero homes in Tyler are for sale fitting this description on

As I have previously outlined on this blog, a study by Inman found Trulia and competitor Zillow have 78% of the home listings as, and of those, 17% are stale listings or were not for sale to begin with.  Only gets fully up to date listings from all MLS, and constantly updates under-contract and sold properties.

Follow me on Twitter #AccuracyMatters and read more about how Zillow and Trulia operate:!debunking-zillow-sarasota/cftb

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Follow Up: Zillow's "Coming Soon" Feature

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) issued a warning on "coming soon" marketing, since the issue was raised by Zillow's new "coming soon" feature.  NAR says brokers who do not act in the best interest of their clients by informing them of the limited nature of coming soon marketing could face liability.

"Coming soon" marketing is another form of pocket listings, where a Realtor has either a verbal agreement with a homeowner to sell their property, or has a written agreement.  The MLS I belong to, MFRMLS, is the 2nd largest in the country.  MFRMLS rules require a listing to be input in the MLS within 48 hours of completing a written listing agreement.  A "coming soon" listing could only be in effect with a true written  agreement for 48 hours, using Zillow's "coming soon" feature.

In my previous blog post, I outlined how "coming soon" listings have the potential for abuse.  A Realtor could technically have a verbal listing agreement with a homeowner and indefinitely market the property as "coming soon" on Zillow.  This brings a lot of pitfalls for potential buyers, who may find the home isn't really for sale, the seller isn't willing to sell yet, or the seller changes the price or terms once an offer is presented.  

It also impacts sellers who are not getting full exposure to the entire real estate market by not being listed in the MLS.

In fact, one broker in Indiana has already warned it's members that "coming soon" listings violate state real estate law and local MLS regulations, and can result in a $500 fine.  I expect to see a lot more local MLS and brokerages across the country come out with specific rules and language dealing with "coming soon" listings.

Zillow is not a licensed real estate broker.  Therefore, they do not follow the Real Estate Code of Ethics nor are they regulated by the NAR.

More about how Zillow operates and why you should avoid it:!debunking-zillow-sarasota/cftb

Monday, June 16, 2014

#AccuracyMatters: Another Customer Asks About a Zillow Property

Readers of this blog will know that I am a fervent advocate for accuracy in real estate, especially when it comes to Zillow and Trulia.

I had yet another customer ask me about a property they found on Zillow that was not available for sale.

The customer says she found 141 Spanish Point Drive, Osprey, FL for sale in Zillow.  Google Maps does not show a home at that address, and there is no Sarasota County tax record for this address.

Zillow does show a property at 121 Spanish Point Drive for sale on their site:,-82.487342,27.198166,-82.495335_rect/16_zm/1_fr/ 

That property is not for sale in the MLS.

For more about how Zillow and Trulia do business please visit my wesite:!debunking-zillow-sarasota/cftb

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Zillow Now Offering "Coming Soon" Listings

Zillow is starting a new "feature" that allows agents to post what we in the industry call pocket listings:  Properties that are supposedly for sale before they are listed in the MLS.

Pocket listings are prevalent in some markets, and no doubt a lot of buyers see agents negotiating pocket listings on popular real estate TV shows on Bravo or HGTV.

Unfortunately for consumers, pocket listings are full of potential legal and accuracy issues that will add more headaches than necessary to the home buying process.

The MLS I belong to, Mid Florida MLS, the 2nd largest in the country, requires that a property must be listed in the MLS within 48 hours of receipt of a signed listing agreement by the seller.  Zillow's "Coming Soon" will not be much of a benefit.

Zillow's "Coming Soon" feature opens up a lot of opportunity for agents to abuse it.  In the absence of a signed listing agreement, agents could post a property for sale without a signed listing agreement and leave it there indefinitely, hoping to attract new buyer customers.

#AccuracyMatters:  When you combine Zillow's scraped tax database pre-foreclosure listings that are not for sale, stale listings that may have sold months or even years ago, and now "Coming Soon" listings that may have no signed seller agreement, Zillow becomes less and less reliable for accurate property listings for sale.!debunking-zillow-sarasota/cftb

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Sarasota Owner Financing

Homes offering owner financing are becoming a more popular niche.  I have been concentrating in  specializing in owner financing negotiation.

You don't have to have bad credit to benefit from owner financing.  Many home buyers and sellers are refusing to deal with the hurdles involved in getting a bank mortgage.  But, a conversation I had today with another agent brings up the issue of Fair Housing law.

No one offering mortgage financing can legally ask about the status or demographics of a buyer.  There are protected classes of buyers which include familial status, race, gender and sexual preference.  As Realtors, we should be counseling our sellers and buyers about the law and basing sales and purchase decisions based on buyer qualification for the mortgage only.

Visit my website for owner financing homes for sale:!owner-financing-sarasota/chfb