Thursday, March 21, 2013

Top 1%

Woo hoo!

I got an email today from Trulia to let me know my profile on their site ranks in the top 1% of agents nationwide, for views by real estate consumers.

I'm not a big fan of Trulia and it's major competitor, Zillow.  In fact, I think these two sites do more to damage the real estate business than anything Congress or a bad economy have done.  Why?  Read more here.

However, these two sites do receive a lot of traffic, and offer free exposure for me to promote my brand and my online presence, including my website and this blog.  I consider it one of my missions as a Realtor to help consumers who post questions on Trulia's forum, understand why so many of their "listings" are not available for sale, and why so many of their property value estimates are flat out wrong.

Fair Housing Law

The recent case of a lawsuit against a Tampa area real estate agent for a violation of the US Fair Housing Act in the public remarks on their listing prompted me to blog about this law and what it means for real estate buyers.

The Fair Housing Act states, in the sale and rental of housing: No one (Realtors or property owners) may take any of the following actions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap:


  • Refuse to rent or sell housing
  • Refuse to negotiate for housing
  • Make housing unavailable
  • Deny a dwelling
  • Set different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a dwelling
  • Provide different housing services or facilities
  • Falsely deny that housing is available for inspection, sale, or rental
  • For profit, persuade owners to sell or rent (blockbusting) or
  • Deny anyone access to or membership in a facility or service (such as a multiple listing service) related to the sale or rental of housing.
  • Advertise or make any statement that indicates a limitation or preference based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or handicap. This prohibition against discriminatory advertising applies to single-family and owner-occupied housing that is otherwise exempt from the Fair Housing Act.
In other words, in best practice, Realtors are allowed to discuss the property attributes ONLY.  Common questions Realtors cannot give an opinion on are:
  • Is it a safe/low-crime neighborhood?
  • Is a neighborhood good for children?
  • Is it a good family neighborhood?
  • Would a neighborhood be good for a single female?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sarasota Real Estate for Your Mobile Device

Our MLS provides some excellent, cutting edge tools that many local agents are probably not utilizing to help their clients access Sarasota real estate listings on their mobile devices.  I am always looking for common sense, easy to use features to help my clients find the right property and learn more about our local real estate market.

In fact, our MLS tools are so advanced that you don't even have to download an app, and you don't have to worry about your OS.

QRCode

Scan the code above, or click here to go directly to a mobile-optimized MLS search site with advanced map searching.

Please contact me with any questions.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

"I Want...."

What home buyers want and what is ends up being best for a home buyer are often not the same things.

As an experienced real estate broker, I carefully listen to what potential buyers say they are looking for in a property, and how they plan on using it.  Here are two good case studies.

I recently helped a couple from Nova Scotia close on a single family home in Englewood.  This couple wanted to be as close to the beach as possible, with the option of renting the property when they weren't using it.  Because they were long distance owners, the idea of owning a condo at first seemed appealing.

As I showed them properties, we discussed how condo fees and association regulations would affect their income potential.  We also discussed the needs of their growing family and the long term benefits of owning a condo versus a single family home.

They ended up purchasing an updated single family home, with bedrooms for all the kids (instead of sleeper sofas in a 1 BR condo), just a short walk to the beach.  They have already rented the property and plan on using it themselves in April.

Another example is a client I am just beginning to work with who is looking for a newer home that is move in ready, and can be rented seasonally.  In this case, what is probably going to be best for this home buyer is a home located as close to the beaches as possible, and most likely an updated older home in a location with high rental potential.  Newer homes in our area are located further from the beaches and may not rent as easily to a seasonal tenant. 

Bottom line:  Many agents show potential buyers what they want to see.  I work with buyers to determine what they want and what their actual needs will be, and present alternatives they may not have considered.