Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sarasota FL Best Real Estate Deals

I just updated my best deals page on my Sarasota real estate website:  www.davidbarrhomes.com/best_deals

The criteria for the homes I choose are simple.  The home must be in particular areas and price ranges that make sense for cash investors for rental purposes, or the home must be priced at a significant discount compared to it's last sale price.  Past history is a good indicator of possible future appreciation.

The current crop of homes I have chosen include an affordable single family home that is perfect for a rental in Englewood, a courtyard home in a popular Venice location, and a newer waterfront 5 bedroom home in Sarasota that is listed for sale at half what it sold for at the height of our real estate market in 2005.

Make sure to contact me to schedule an appointment to view any of these properties.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Lakewood Center Coming to Lakewood Ranch

As if the widely used (sarcasm) Benderson Park rowing basin and the huge new mall at the intersection of I-75 and University Parkway weren't enough, developers and politicians are already rubbing their greedy hands together at the prospect of more commercial development and the tax money that comes with it.

Read this article about Lakewood Center in Lakewood Ranch:  http://www.bradenton.com/2013/10/27/4794668/lakewood-centre.html

Is it just me or did many of us escape to Florida to avoid this kind of sprawl and the traffic congestion it brings?  

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sarasota Beach Homes and Condos for Sale

Home buyers searching for Sarasota beach homes and condos for sale are finding my website a valuable resource.

So many agents listing property on the barrier islands put "gulf front" or "gulf view" in their descriptions, that really aren't directly on the Gulf of Mexico.  This makes it hard to filter out only homes or condos that are directly on the Gulf of Mexico if you as a potential buyer are searching the public MLS sites on your own.

I have Realtor-only tools available that enable me to draw property listings from a geography that is on the Gulf side of the area's major north/south beach road.

Not only does my website have beach homes (http://www.davidbarrhomes.com/#!sarasota-beach-homes/c1stv)  and beach condos (http://www.davidbarrhomes.com/#!beach-condos-sarasota/caue) listed separately to make your Sarasota beach property search even easier, I have also added custom maps to each page.  Now you can zoom in on your desired area and click on a map marker for available beachfront properties.

If you are interested in buying a Sarasota area beach home or beachfront condo, please bookmark these pages and contact me to arrange property showings.  My service area covers Anna Maria Island all the way to Boca Grande.

Beach homes: http://www.davidbarrhomes.com/#!sarasota-beach-homes/c1stv

Beach condos: http://www.davidbarrhomes.com/#!beach-condos-sarasota/caue

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Palm Island Real Estate in Placida FL

This past weekend I had the privilege of showing properties to buyers on Palm Island.  Palm Island is accessible only by ferry or private boat, and offers beachfront cottages and homes for sale.  The ferry is located just north of the Boca Grande Causeway off Hwy 776.

We viewed 8 homes, including a couple within Palm Island Resort.  Homes outside the resort have a combination of pools and tennis courts in their homeowner's association.  Within the resort, homeowners have pool, tennis, as well as concierge services.

You can view Palm Island properties for sale on my website:  http://www.davidbarrhomes.com/#!placida/c154p

The ferry service is not for everybody.  I can understand why some would have concerns about accessibility to the mainland, especially in an emergency.  Palm Island has fire personnel, and emergency services are readily at hand no matter the time of day.  If you like seclusion and uncrowded beaches without high-rise condos, Palm Island is an interesting choice in my service area.

Palm Island Ferry on the island side of the channel.

The Palm Island Ferry accepts cars and pedestrian passengers.

The entire ride across the channel to Palm Island takes 5 minutes.


Friday, October 18, 2013

More Choices in Sarasota Real Estate

UPDATE 3/15/2014:  The links here are no longer valid but the content remains accessible.  Please visit my website's main page, www.davidbarrhomes.com, and use the new and improved navigation to find your ideal Sarasota home or condo.

Every Realtor has (or should have) a public MLS search function on their website.

In reality, the public MLS sites often don't provide easily searchable neighborhood or property style options.

On my Sarasota real estate website davidbarrhomes.com, make sure you click on the drop down menu at the upper right of each page labeled "more choices".  There are links to several pages on my website that provide MLS listings for:

Villas
Townhomes
Gated single family homes
Owner financing
Pool homes (homes with a private pool only)
Investment single family homes
55 and over properties for sale
New homes built since 2012
Vacant lots and land

Buying a Home in Sarasota

If you're planning a trip to Sarasota to look at homes (and buy!), I realize your time here is valuable.  Here's some tips to make sure we maximize your time viewing homes and condos:

  1. Allow at least 24 hours notice for showings.  Please let me know where you are staying, which days you would like to see properties, and what times of the day you plan on being available before you arrive;
  2. Narrow down your price range.  There are 272 single family homes for sale as of this writing between $150-$200,000 in Sarasota County;
  3. Tell me your preferred area.  If you've never been to Sarasota, Venice, Englewood, or Bradenton, your first visit probably is better spent experiencing the different towns and neighborhoods we have to offer;
  4. Have your source of funds ready to go.  If you are a cash buyer, you'll need to have proof of funds to accompany your offer.  If you are getting a mortgage, you'll need a pre-qualification letter from your lender;
  5. Forget about Zillow.  Everything you think you know about Sarasota real estate (or any other city or town) from Zillow is wrong.  Read why here:  www.davidbarrhomes.com/debunking_zillow.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Sarasota Investment Property: What Upgrades?

My services to you as a real estate investor don't stop once you have acquired your property.

If you are buying to fix up and flip, my expertise in working with buyers in all kinds of price ranges across my service area of Manatee, Sarasota, and Charlotte Counties can help you maximize your return on investment.

One of my customers is in the process of flipping now and asked my input on flooring replacement.  Another customer of mine is closing on an investment rental condo, and needs the flooring replaced as well.

My recommendation on flooring replacement is tile.  Tile is inexpensive, durable, and easy to install on a concrete slab/subfloor.  Buyers see it as an upgrade and tenants like it because it's easy to clean.  My advice is to stay away from laminate flooring, even if it costs a little less.

If you are trying to match different flooring, it's easier to match tile to tile than it is to match laminate or engineered wood floor colors and textures.

Sarasota FL Flood Zone and Insurance Info

Flood insurance is in the news with changes in federal legislation affecting FEMA.

Starting October 2013, for single family homes where the buyer is obtaining a mortgage, a buyer must have a flood elevation certificate to determine the property flood zone classification.  These can be obtained through a local property surveyor. This will be conducted during the escrow process along with home inspections and other contingencies.

Properties in the SFHA (Special Flood Hazard Area) designed with an A or V will experience large increases in annual premiums and flood insurance will be mandatory to obtain financing.  Buyers should be aware that flood insurance policies can no longer be transferred from the previous owner.

Here's the link to the FEMA site for flood zone designations:  http://www.fema.gov/floodplain-management/flood-zones

Cash buyers of single family homes are not required to carry flood insurance.  The new regulations do not pertain to condos, as of this writing.

To assist you in your property search, I have included flood zone designations on the property summaries of each of my over 50 neighborhood listings pages.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sarasota Real Estate, 100% of the Time

You have a lot of choice when it comes to selecting a Sarasota FL real estate agent.

My job is to make your selection of a real estate agent as simple as possible.  I don't waste your time blogging about the upcoming antique car show or a rowing event.  I don't make you download a lot of postcard pictures of Sarasota on my website before you can get the real estate information you are looking for.

davidbarrhomes.com is 100% real estate, 100% of the time.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Realtor Marketing

On Saturday mornings I get an email from Inman real estate news.

Many of the articles are written by SEO companies and marketing "gurus", telling agents how to advertise themselves to home buyers and sellers.

Some of the terms used in the sales industry, not limited to real estate, really make me cringe.  And I've been "in sales" for over 25 years.  "Capture", "convert", "lead", and "capture" are regularly used terms.  Do you as a potential customer really want to feel like hunted prey?

My philosophy about gaining new customers and their trust is simple.  I provide information to customers about properties and answers to their questions they are searching for online.  This content is written by me specifically about my service area, not by a 20-something in Silicon Valley who has sold me some content to use in my advertising.

Here are some good examples:

The buying process:  Learn about the steps in the buying process, from writing an offer to the closing;
Home inspections:  What they are used for and what to expect;
Closing costs:  Estimate typical closing costs in the Sarasota area;
Buyer information: An update on the local Sarasota area real estate market;
Insurance:  What you need to know about homeowner's insurance and flood insurance.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sarasota Condos and Pet Restrictions

The Sarasota area is a great place to retire or have a vacation home for pet lovers.  As a dog owner myself, I understand how important it can be for pet owners to search for property that allows pets.

I have created over 50 specific pages on my website with property listings for Sarasota area neighborhoods, both for single family homes and condos.

Each property summary report has also been created specifically by me to quickly answer some of the most important items buyers are seeking.  One of these, which you won't find on my competitor's websites, or on Trulia or Zillow, are pet restrictions.

For example, if you are looking for a condo on Siesta Key on my website http://www.davidbarrhomes.com/#!siesta-key-condos/cztg the property summary will show if the condo allows pets, and also displays any additional pet restrictions, such as number of pets or a weight limit.

If you are a pet lover looking to buy a Sarasota-area condo, villa, or townhome, davidbarrhomes.com is the perfect site for you.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Home Inspections: Foreclosure or Traditional Sale?

I have a couple of buyers under contract.  It's at this point in the buying process that I emphasize the role of the home inspection.  The key to a smooth transaction and happy buyers and sellers is making sure both parties understand the terms they agreed to in the contract regarding the inspection and repairs.

The home inspection is not to be used to negotiate a further price reduction or concessions from the seller, unless latent (hidden) material structural problems or improperly functioning systems are discovered.

In a traditional sale, the buyer has a right to an inspection during the agreed-upon inspection period.  Per the new FARBAR Purchase and Sale Contract, cosmetic items (visible items not affecting the structure or function of the property) the seller is NOT obligated to repair as a result of the inspection are outlined on page 5.  Major systems such as roofs, HVAC, and pools, are required to be in working condition (performing the function they were intended for).  The seller is only obligated to make repairs to bring a major system into working condition as defined in paragraph 12(ii) on page 5.  Age or remaining life span as outlined in the home inspection IS NOT a reason to ask a seller to repair or replace a major system that is in working condition.  This means roofs, HVAC, pitted marcite in pools, etc.

Home inspectors are required by law to estimate the remaining life span of major systems.  The disconnect occurs when the inspection report comes back and the buyer asks the seller for a price reduction because the home inspection says the AC system is 13 years old.  If it's working, the seller is not required to make repairs or replace the system.

In a foreclosure or short sale, the buyer makes an as-is offer with right to inspect.  Per the new FARBAR As-Is Purchase and Sale Contract, the language governing the home inspection is on page 5 paragraph 12.  In an as-is contract, the buyer knows upfront that the seller is making no repairs to the property.  The buyer may, in their sole discretion, terminate the contract and deliver written notice to the seller before the end of the inspection period.

My role as your buyer's agent is to help you understand the age and condition of major systems of the home during your visit, and to help you take these items into account as part of your offer in either a traditional sale or a distress sale.