Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Best Sarasota Real Estate Deals

Looking for the best real estate deals on the market right now in the Sarasota area?

I just updated my best deals page on my website,, with my latest picks.

Today's update includes luxury waterfront homes at up to half their last sale price at the height of the market.

If you have interest in these homes and condos, or any like them, please let me know and I'll be happy to help.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Home Inspections in Sarasota

After working with a couple of recent customers and sharing stories with some of my colleagues, I thought it was time to revisit the role the home inspection plays in the home buying process.

The home inspection contingency has been put in place in FL real estate to help buyers determine if a home has hidden (latent) major deficiencies, that are not readily visible from the buyer's personal observation.

Repeat:  Hidden major deficiencies not readily visible.

The home inspection report will note every single aspect of the home, including worn flooring, old paint, old appliances, and old systems such as water heaters and HVAC.  Buyers can readily view these items, even the age of the HVAC and hot water heater, during the showing appointment (or I can point them out to you if you make an offer sight unseen).  As your real estate agent, I can provide advice on how your offer should take these items into account in your offer price.

The home inspection is also required by FL law to note the age of major systems and whether they are at the end of their useful life.  Because of this, buyers are always tempted to ask sellers for replacement of HVAC, roofs, or water heaters that are at the end of their supposed useful life as a result of the inspection.

FL real estate contracts specifically prohibit requiring the seller to repair or replace working major systems that are at the end of their useful life, if they are performing their function.

Bottom line:  Your offer should already take outdated systems or cosmetic items into account.  Major systems at the end of their useful life that are working should not be repaired or replaced per FL real estate contracts.  Major hidden damage revealed from the home inspection are items the seller should repair or provide concessions to the buyer at closing.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Unpopular Opinion: Mobile Browsing

I'm not a go with the crowd kind of guy, and I usually question the CW (conventional wisdom) of what the media and leaders in our field feed us about the latest trends and news.  One of these is that we need to develop "responsive" real estate websites, based on the user device.  I don't subscribe to this idea.

Website analytics and the mobile industry lump mobile browsing on different devices under the same category.  For example, browsing on a smart phone or internet capable phone is considered the same as browsing on a tablet.

I think there's a real distinction between these devices, in terms of how users search for real estate.

In the first scenario, a potential home buyer is on their smart phone in front of a home for sale.  Most likely, they want to look up the price and get basic information.  For this type of mobile user, I provide a QR code on my for sale sign, which takes the user to a specific page on my website.

In the second scenario, the user is searching for real estate on their tablet device.  The full version of my website is completely functional on a tablet, and a mobile user can search for homes in a certain neighborhood while out looking in their car, or they can again use the QR code on my for sale signs.

I recently read one of my competitor's blog posts about their mobile app's ability to search for downtown Sarasota condos by building name as one of it's benefits.  I don't think many buyers can name many downtown condo buildings.  Buyers search by area and price.  If you have an app, it has to provide search options that fit the user's expectations.

Analytics show that these mobile users are using a tablet device versus a smart phone by a margin of 3 to 1.  The metrics do not substantiate spending marketing dollars on a website to reach a small percentage of mobile users.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Registering with a Broker That Handles Foreclosures

I recently replied to an associate with our company who posted a comment for an article in the Sarasota Herald Tribune about buyers frustrated with multiple offers.

This associate supposedly handles a large list of foreclosure properties.  His assertion was that many of the best foreclosures don't make it to the market, and sell before they are listed, so buyers should sign up with this broker to be the first to know about foreclosure listings.

I found his assertion to be ludicrous.  Reference this excellent article:

If he's working with banks, they have no reason to withhold properties from the MLS and exposure to the general marketplace.  Banks want the highest price possible for their properties, and are extremely risk averse.  Withholding properties from the MLS for only a select group of buyers that register with a broker could be construed as discriminatory.  It's highly doubtful any bank owner of any home is taking offers from a broker before a property becomes listed in the MLS.

The next time you see a Realtor or broker advertise that they give you first shot at foreclosures, take it with a grain of salt.