Friday, November 22, 2013

Doesn't Float, Can't Nail It: Perfect!

I was showing beachfront property to a customer recently, when we ran across a beautiful wood deck with rich, deep colors and graining.  The wood it was made from is called ipe wood.

Pronounced ee-pay, and seemingly often spelled epay, ipe wood comes from Brazil.  It is commonly referred to as Brazilian walnut.  I've heard of Brazilian walnut, but usually used in cabinetry or interior wood flooring rather than outdoor decking.

Ipe wood used as outdoor decking
Ipe wood is perfect for coastal construction because it is 3 times harder than cedar.  In fact, it's so dense, nail holes have to be pre-drilled and it sinks in water.  It has natural oils which repel water and wood destroying organisms.

Most manufacturers say ipe wood has a 25 year lifespan, which is incredible for a deck or walkway, but maintained properly, experts say ipe wood can last 75 years.  Of course, a wood such as this will have a cost premium versus locally sourced lumber.  Experts say ipe wood can cost 30% more than cedar or knotty pine.

Ipe wood is harvested in the tropics, so you have to be careful that your wood is coming from a responsible source.  Read more about ipe wood.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Season is Starting Early

There's lots of anecdotal evidence that our area is experiencing an early and what looks to be robust "season".

For example, just today, a trip to Bradenton for a home inspection that should have taken me 20 minutes took 35.  Every other license plate is from out of state.

Afterwards, I went into Home Goods to get some kitchenware to prepare for Thanksgiving.  No parking spaces and the store was jammed.  It's not even Black Friday!

While this bodes well for us in the real estate industry, as a home buyer, you will face some challenges with low inventory and the beginnings of a seller's market.  Please contact me with any questions about the local real estate market.  I look forward to being your buyer's agent in what looks to be a very hectic 2014.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Pitfalls of Using Zillow

Zillow is reporting increases in visits to their website and is spending a lot of money advertising to the general public.  This is causing a lot of misperceptions about what Zillow is, and what they do.

Here's what Zillow is:  they are a self-described media site.  This means they are in business for the sole purpose of attracting a lot of visitors to their website.  They sell advertising and set their ad rates based on the number of website visitors.

Here's what Zillow is not:  Zillow is not a licensed real estate broker.  Zillow cannot sell you a home.  You cannot complete a real estate transaction on Zillow's website.

There are implications for home buyers and sellers who use Zillow on their own, without employing the services of a local Realtor.

Zillow zestimates are as likely to be too high, as they are too low.  If you are a home buyer making an offer without a Realtor, using a high zestimate can result in the home you are buying with a mortgage not appraising for the negotiated price.  You'll have to back out of your contract.  As a seller, if you list your home for sale by owner on Zillow's site, you run the risk of pricing your home too low if you rely on Zillow zestimates for your asking price.

Real estate in today's market is simply too complicated to go it alone without the assistance of a local Realtor.  Use Zillow with a grain of salt.  Read more on my website: http://www.davidbarrhomes.com/#!debunking-zillow-sarasota/cftb