Monday, July 27, 2015

Zillow's Last Gasp | Real Estate | Venice FL

I was reading today about Zillow acquiring DotLoop.
I had not heard of DotLoop. Apparently it's a competitor to Docusign. And there's a lot of competitors to Docusign.  But I digress.
The blog I was reading posted this link to a YouTube video about this acquisition:
I believe this is Zillow's last gasp.
Zillow can't win
Zillow's end game is to change how real estate is transacted.  They have been pursuing a strategy of acquiring electronic signature companies, online rental companies, and IDX data (and stealing it to display on Zillow), all in an effort to begin the creation of a new online experience.  Zillow wants an end-run around Realtors, and appeal long term to millenials, who live their lives through apps.
They can't win the accuracy battle with
They can't win the PR battle they face against an army of Realtors who are spreading the word about Zillow's unethical and misleading business practices.
They are not going to win this battle, either.  Car dealers, despite many Zillow-like challengers, haven't gone out of business, and neither will Realtors.  Cars and homes are not just black and white, fact based purchases.  They involve emotion and hands-on experience that cannot be replicated through the online transactions Zillow envisions for it's future survival.
Dump your Zillow stock.  It's about to become

Read more about how Zillow does business:!zillow-venice-fl/cftb

Friday, July 24, 2015

Real Estate Closings | TRID Changes | Venice FL

There are big changes coming to real estate that will be affecting both home buyers and home sellers that center around mortgage loans and closings.

Known in our industry as TRID (which stands for TILA RESPA Integrated Disclosure), buyers who are financing their real estate purchase will have new financial disclosures and mandatory review periods that will affect how long it takes to close, once a property goes under contract.

New TRID changes for Venice FL real estate
The HUD-1 settlement statement will disappear on 10/3.

Home buyers will receive two new forms when financing: an initial loan estimate disclosure, which replaces the current GFE (Good Faith Estimate) and the inital TIL (Truth in Lending disclosure); then, three days before closing, the home buyer and home seller each will receive a Closing Disclosure, which is meant to more clearly outline loan terms, fees, and other charges than the current HUD-1 settlement statement.

The changes this brings to the residenial real estate industry are very detailed, but to summarize:

  • The recommended number of days needed to close a sale for financed transactions is 45 to 60 days, instead of 30 days;
  • The new 3 day review period for the Closing Disclosure cannot be waived by the buyer to facilitate an earlier closing, nor can it be used to rescind an offer to purchase;
  • Changes to the loan, failure to timely receive documents such as HOA/condo association applications, negotiated repairs, or changes to the closing date, all of which can affect loan approval or interest rates, must be submitted to the lender for approval, and another three day review period starts for the buyer;
  • Realtors need to be more proactive earlier in the escrow period in order to obtain information from sellers, such as HOA/condo association contacts, and begin the membership approval process as early as possible.
  • The current HUD-1 settlement statement will no longer exist.  

If you are buying or selling Venice, FL real estate, a Realtor who knows how these changes will affect the sale of your property will help you have a smoother transaction in as short a time as possible under the new rules.

Please contact me for further information.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Renting Before Buying | Real Estate | Venice FL

People seeking refuge from winter weather or retiring have a lot of choices when it comes to Florida real estate.  Does renting for a year to see if you like an area make sense?

Rent before buy Venice FL real estate

I've been posting neighborhood market reports for the past couple of weeks.  Values are increasing dramatically (in Venice and most of the rest of Florida) because of demand.  Take a look at the numbers for an entry level neighborhood, South Venice:

South Venice FL real estate prices

The median sales price for a South Venice single family home increased $26,000 in the first six months of 2015 compared to the same period last year.  If you decided to rent a home in South Venice, rental rates for a single family home on an annual basis are around $1200 per month, equaling $14,400.  

Renting for a year in South Venice could cost you $40,400.  Look at that equity you missed out on.

I like to say that homes are homes and people are people, no matter where you live.  What makes towns and cities different are the amenities that are important to you.

Start building equity in Venice's strong real estate market by contacting me today.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Appliance Trends | What's After Stainess Steel? |

Periodically I run across articles about the next trend in appliances after stainless steel.  I hear a lot of people complain about maintaining stainless steel in their kitchens, but according to the data, most home buyers consider it superior to white or black finishes.

Whirlpool's Ice Collection
Whirlpool's Ice Collection
GE Slate
GE's slate finish

Whirlpool's stainless collection
Whirlpool's stainless collection

Two of the major appliance manufacturers are offering alternatives to stainless steel, due to what many in the industry believe is the end of the stainless steel era.  What do you think?  Would you consider a renovated kitchen in Whirlpool's Ice Collection as desirable as stainless?

Home Construction | Concrete Block Versus Wood Frame |

One of the common questions we get in Venice FL real estate is if concrete block homes are really better than wood frame homes.

Concrete block home

Wood frame construction home

I myself was surprised when I first moved to Florida to find that concrete block was prevalent. Where I come from, it was the garage that was built out of concrete block, but not the homes themselves.  I encounter many buyers from up north with the same reaction.

The pros for concrete block homes in Florida are:

  1.  Concrete block is stronger than wood frame, in the case of a major storm or flood;
  2.  Better insulating properties and lower utility costs;
  3.  Improved sound deadening properties;
  4.  Lower insurance costs;
  5.  Lower long term maintenance costs;
  6. Higher apparent demand among the buying public.

Concrete block homes are more termite resistant, but are not fully termite proof.  Most concrete block homes have wood roof trusses and interior wall studs.  Home buyers should also be aware that two story homes may be listed for sale described as a concrete block home, but there could be wood framing on the second floor.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Home Decor Trends | Reclaimed Wood Ideas |

Using reclaimed wood is becoming an even more popular design trend, and one which could work well in decorating your Venice FL home or condo.

Reclaimed wood is being used in all kinds of ways: dimensional walls, coffee tables, side tables, and outdoor furniture.  You can use all kinds of wood: pallet wood, siding, logs, and even paint stirrers.

Reclaimed wood table Venice FL real estate decor
The reclaimed wood on this coffee table is a nice contrast to the light, casual colors in this living room.

Reclaimed wood wall for Venice FL real estate
Can't you picture this type of accent wall in a beach home?

Reclaimed wood side table
Add this type of table to your lanai or patio.
Dimensional reclaimed wood accent wall
This dimensional wood accent wall could replace more expensive ceramic or stone tile.

There's a lot you can do with reclaimed wood to personalize your home or condo in Venice FL. These types of elements will create a memorable selling point and add value if you are renovating a home or condo to sell.  Please contact me for more ideas on selling your Venice FL real estate.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Venice Island FL | Real Estate Sales Update |

Venice Island presents a challenge when analyzing real estate prices.  Properties run from entry level vacation condos under $100K to multi-million dollar homes directly on the beach.  For this comparison I looked at all types of properties, just to get a broad snapshot the market.

Pricing real estate on the Island (as we locals call it) for purchase or listing for sale would require a much more detailed investigation of recent sales at street level or individual building in the case of a condo.

Map of Venice Island FL
Map of Venice Island, FL
Venice Island FL real estate

An increase of 18% in median sales price for the first six months of 2015 versus the first 6 months of 2014 shows Venice Island real estate is in high demand.  If you're looking for an investment property in Venice or a second home or retirement property, please contact me

You can also search all Venice Island real estate for sale on my website.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Kitchen Design Trends | Before and After |

I see it almost every day in my real estate business: a renovated home that doesn't quite hit the mark with buyers.

Take a look at the before and after pictures of a kitchen update courtesy of

Dark kitchen cabinets

This kitchen looks pretty good as it is, right?  Newer cabinets and what look to be solid surface counter tops and newer appliances are pretty standard items for what most people look for in a renovation.

White kitchen cabinets

Take a close look at the after picture.  The kitchen cabinets and counter tops are unchanged except for color and door pulls.  In my opinion, white cabinets will never go out of style.  And, make sure to pay special attention to the cabinet door pulls.  This can make or break your renovation in the eyes of a buyer.  A couple of well-chosen updated light fixtures successfully complete the updated look.

When you're ready to sell your Venice FL real estate, please contact me.

Venice Gardens FL | Real Estate Prices |

Venice Gardens is a popular neighborhood both for it's affordability and location, situated just minutes from downtown and local beaches.  Most homes are concrete block construction with public water available.  One of the unique features of Venice Gardens is the chain of lakes. Many homes have beautiful water views and private docks for canoes or kayaks.

Venice Gardens map

Real estate prices for the first 6 months of 2015 showed an increase over the same period in 2014, with median sales prices of single family homes jumping 14%.  Sales volume more than tripled, with 97 properties sold during the period in 2015 compared to 30 in 2014.

Venice Garden real estate sales

If you are interested in purchasing a home in Venice Gardens please contact me.  You can view currently available homes for sale in Venice Gardens on my website.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

South Venice FL | Real Estate Sales |

We're halfway through the year and I thought I'd take a look at how the first six months of 2015 stacked up against 2014.  I'll be doing this for many popular Venice FL neighborhoods in the coming days and weeks, but today's blog post starts with South Venice.

South Venice FL real estate market statistics 2015

The biggest takeaways from this analysis are that the median sales price increased 22% over the first six months of 2014, and sellers found themselves in control in price negotiations, with only a 2% difference between the list price and the sales price of the property.  Demand was high in 2015, with days on market 37% shorter than in 2014.

This also brings up another issue I hear from potential buyers who want to rent before they buy.  If you decided to rent first in South Venice, you likely spent about $14,000 on an annual rental. While you waited a year to buy, the same house was $23,500 more.  That's $37,500 in lost equity.

Waiting to get in the real estate market costs a lot of money.  Contact me today to get started on your Venice FL real estate purchase.