Welcome to Southwest Florida Real Estate

Archive for the ‘Real Estate News’ Category

Sharing Creative Touches with Luxury SW Florida Homes, Naples, Marco Island!

Sharing Creative Touches with Luxury SW Florida Homes, Naples, Marco Island! You can find how-to books with Sharing Creative Touches with Luxury SW Florida Homes, Naples, Marco Island!strategies laying out do-it-yourself strategies for transforming a property into a “luxury” home. Likewise, there are scads of online lists of imaginative touches that imply they will do the same.

The idea is certainly appealing (but so is anti-gravity and time travel). But of course, the fact is that authentic luxury doesn’t come cheap. A significant portion of the qualities of SW Florida luxury homes distinctions are intractable: in SW Florida, they involve a home’s location, size, and the architectural features of the overall facility. For instance, most upscale SW Florida luxury homes have a spacious living room; today, many feature an inviting area set aside for viewing a gargantuan wall-mounted flat screen TV. That’s a plus—but those with separate, professionally installed media rooms are a step closer to falling into the “luxury home” category.

It turns out that when you look at many of the lists touting “Simple Touches That Make a Luxury Home,” most are either not so simple, extremely expensive, or both. That’s not to say that actually employing some of the ideas might not pay off in terms of resale, but most involve substantial expense (and consequent risk). Still, there are other lists with more realistic titles— like “Adding a Touch of Luxury to Your Home” with ideas that involve more imagination than budget.Sharing Creative Touches with Luxury SW Florida Homes, Naples, Marco Island! They may not propel a simple property into the luxury class, but they can make a real contribution to a home’s livability and appeal—

  • Layer floor coverings: strategic placing of throw rugs over hardwood or carpeting adds dimension and interest
  • Improve visual coherence with wall cases, shelving, cabinetry or closed storage solutions (all these ideas actually systematically reduce clutter)
  • Furnish to create focal points—every room can use an eye-catching center of attention
  • Sharing Creative Touches with Luxury SW Florida Homes, Naples, Marco Island!Splash color: pillows on sofas; towels in bathrooms; pictures on hallway walls
  • Rethink lighting: consider lamps and fixtures as key décor items rather than just light sources
  • Add crown molding, chair rails, and baseboards—where surfaces meet, these simple architectural touches add subtle grace

   Sharing Creative Touches with Luxury SW Florida Homes, Naples, Marco Island! The luxury home category rightfully describes the upper echelons of Texas residences—and their price tags reflect it. But imaginative, tasteful décor doesn’t have to be overwhelming to add appeal to any residence. You don’t have be putting your own home on the market to add some extra touches of luxury. But when that time does come, I hope you’ll call me to help!

Advertisements

The Best SW Florida Agents May Differ, but Share 4 Traits, Naples, Ft. Myers, Marco Island!

The Best SW Florida Agents May Differ, but Share 4 Traits, Naples, Ft. Myers, Marco Island! If you are looking for the Town real estate agent who will do the best job for you, it’s logical to seek the best agent. Less obvious is what traits distinguish the best real estate agents. If you look through summaries of commonly agreed-upon qualities, most are the The Best SW Florida Agents May Differ, but Share 4 Traits, Naples, Ft. Myers, Marco Island!same as for other successful people. A common #1 listed trait is “a problem-solver mindset”—but that would be true for most top producers in any number of occupations.

Going at it from a different perspective, the nature of the industry might make the most useful distinguishing characteristics largely personal ones. From my own point of view, four are all but indispensable:

The best agents are nice. The selling and buying of a home is serious business, so “nice” might not seem to be required…but even a hint of rancor is a bar to success. In dealing with the place that sellers call home (and buyers would like to call home), when ill will threaten to sour the atmosphere, it can thwart a transaction—even when all other factors are favorable. Although it may not sound logical, the ‘vibe’ surrounding a home’s sale can become as important as it is in establishing a business partnership, where good will is justifiably essential for success. Especially when nerves are ragged, misunderstandings are easily triggered. The best SW Florida agents adroitly handle nuances (like knowing how to prevent minor critical comments from being taken as personal slights).

They’re organized. The sheer volume of details that flood a busy real estate agent’s day has to be experienced to beThe Best SW Florida Agents May Differ, but Share 4 Traits, Naples, Ft. Myers, Marco Island! believed. The best agents can’t be “snowed under,” because they have long ago figured out how to systematize fielding the daily load. You can tell an organized agent by their swift personal response to phone messages and email contacts.  

They’re real. Eventually, artificiality wears thin. Sooner or later, a professional demeanor that’s out of phase with the same person’s private side betrays itself as what it is: a guise behind which reality resides. The best agents know that the strongest cooperative relationships are built on trust. Whenever an unexpected obstacle enters the picture—and in the search, negotiations, and completion of the sale of a residence in SW Florida, it’s surprising if at least some snags don’t pop up. The opposite of artificial cheer is authenticity; when the voice on the other end of the phone is unfaltering bright and The Best SW Florida Agents May Differ, but Share 4 Traits, Naples, Ft. Myers, Marco Island!energetic, it’s that much easier to make steady progress. It’s why a truism about the best agents is seldom disputed: they all seem to have one personality trait in common—a sunny disposition. That comes from loving to do what you’re doing!

The best agents don’t fear confrontation. It’s built into the mix: the interests of buyers and sellers are often diametrically opposed. That isn’t to say that, after a fair deal has been struck, both can’t walk away with good feelings about the transaction and one another (in fact, that’s often the ultimate outcome). But to get there, each should feel that their conflicting interests are being protected. Strongly protected. The best agents don’t shy away from energetically representing the wishes of their clients, even if that places them outside their preferred comfort zone.

The Best SW Florida Agents May Differ, but Share 4 Traits, Naples, Ft. Myers, Marco Island! Real estate calls for a special combination of personality traits. Salesmanship needs to be tempered with diplomacy. Zeal with patience. And above all, the best SW Florida real estate agents love doing what we do. I hope you’ll give me a chance to demonstrate: just give me a call!  Thank You For Reading!

10 Least-Favored Listings Features Draw SW Florida Readers, Naples, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral!

10 Least-Favored Listings Features Draw SW Florida Readers, Naples, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral! You don’t have to be planning to add your own home to the SW Florida listings to be curious about how it would do if it were up for sale. If you are considering a change of residences, it’s twice as likely that you have been checking out the latest listings in SW 10 Least-Favored Listings Features Draw SW Florida Readers, Naples, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral!Florida to see what comparable properties are asking, which are already under contract, and which have been listed for the longest times…

Most important in the interest any listing elicits is the photography—combined with the Big Three: Asking Price; Number of Bedrooms; and Number of Bathrooms. But there is also the list of possible amenities—and how each stacks up with buyers across the nation. Some of them seem to attract the most eager buyers, while others seem to draw the most yawns. I’ve done an informal (and definitely unscientific) audit of what the leading commentators have come up with as “least popular” home amenities. Here’s a sampling of the 10 top least exciting contenders:

  1. Elevator. Almost every source mentioned this. People don’t want elevators in their homes, except for a small percentage of seniors. This is fortunate, because very few SW Florida listings ever include them.10 Least-Favored Listings Features Draw SW Florida Readers, Naples, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral!
  2. Two toilets in the master bath. Not terribly surprising, but not to be confused with two sinks in the master bath, which (at least here in SW Florida) is a definite plus.
  3. Cork flooring. Cork has excellent thermal and acoustical qualities. It’s lightweight, warm to the touch, hypoallergenic…but, alas! None of that seems to matter. Unpopular, apparently.
  4. Wet bar. This could have some connection to the next:
  5. Wine cellar. The vintage wine storage problem is, apparently, not high on most folks’ gotta-have-it lists.
  6. Daycare center nearby. This is a surprise—you’d think it would be a strong positive for professionals with little ones. Perhaps this is a reaction to negative news stories about daycare centers in places other than SW Florida …or perhaps, since other properties are within the same “nearby” radius, it’s just not enough of a differentiator to make it a listings winner.
  7. 10 Least-Favored Listings Features Draw SW Florida Readers, Naples, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral!Two story family room. Although this can be a delightful architectural feature, to some buyers it might hint at would-be grandeur that could make a family room less cozy.
  8. Two-story foyer. Ditto.
  9. Laminate countertop. Not surprising: stone seems to rule the roost in countertop mentions (as it has for years). One commentator found that Gen Xers “hold laminate countertops in the same disregard” that their elders hold for next-door baseball or soccer fields.
  10. Pet washing station. Sorry Fido; looks like it’s off to the groomer for you.

10 Least-Favored Listings Features Draw SW Florida Readers, Naples, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral! There they are—but if your own SW Florida home has one or more of these attributes, never fear…we’re experts at coming up with creative approaches for marketing them in new and exciting ways. Give me a call when it’s time to start creating your listing!

Summer Solstice Marks a Midpoint for SW Florida Real Estate

Summer Solstice Marks a Midpoint for SW Florida Real Estate. SW Florida’s week starts off with a celestial milestone. Our grade school teachers told us to call this point in the calendar a “solstice.” There are two each year, and this is the summer one. If there had been one of those models of the solar system in the room, the teacher would have used it to Summer Solstice Marks a Midpoint for SW Florida Real Estateillustrate the way Earth’s orbit…well, here it always got a little complicated. Especially if the teacher started explaining the difference between a solstice and an equinox. An equinox happens when the day and night are the same length: each exactly 12 hours. Monday’s solstice: well, it’s more complicated…

“Solstice” comes from Latin words for “the Sun” and “standing still”: it’s when the Sun’s position in the sky reaches as far north as it’s going to get. Up until then, every noontime, the sun kept creeping further and further northward. At the equinox, its progress stops cold. At noon the next day, it will reverse course. And keep dipping southward until the winter equinox…

Anyway, for SW Florida real estate, this week is even more significant than an equinox, because the summer solstice isSummer Solstice Marks a Midpoint for SW Florida Real Estatealso the first day of summer—and that is exactly the midpoint of what is traditionally real estate’s busiest time of year: the spring-summer selling season. Take a look at SW Florida’s listings and you’ll see both the new ones that weren’t there in May and those that are now under contract: the multiple comings and goings are why this season is so productive.

The same holds true just about everywhere else in the country, too; and with the start of summer came some additional welcome news (the kind of news that we had expected). First off, the Fed’s Janet Yellen confirmed that interest rates were Summer Solstice Marks a Midpoint for SW Florida Real Estatenot going to be going up yet. This was the opposite of what had been pre-announced in April, then back-pedaled last month. May’s weak jobs report was the culprit (or hero, if you are lucky enough to be applying for a mortgage any time soon).

So it may be merely a coincidence, but it does seem as if the Fed is observing its own kind of solstice. They’re not moving interest rates, no matter how much they’d like to. Rates are at a standstill. Maybe the Fed Governors will decide to take a break—get out of the office to enjoy summer like the rest of the nation…  

Summer Solstice Marks a Midpoint for SW Florida Real Estate. Meantime, home loan rates continue to be thrillingly inexpensive—a boon for SW Florida real estate in all quarters. Buyers and sellers all benefit when monthly mortgage payments look the way they do now. So for this year at least, the solstice marks a great time to give me a call!

 

Before Staging Your SW Florida Home, Do Some “Pre-Staging”, Naples, Ft. Myers, Estero

Before Staging Your SW Florida Home, Do Some “Pre-Staging”, Naples, Ft. Myers, Estero. There is a useful new way to approach preparing your home for sale—one that few SW Florida homeowners would have found practical just a few years ago.

Before Staging Your SW Florida Home, Do Some “Pre-Staging”, Naples, Ft. Myers, EsteroTo start with, the rate at which consumer technology is changing can be maddening— even if most of the changes improve how things work. At this point, most SW Florida residents accept the fact that every new laptop or smart phone upgrade will mean that, sooner or later, we’ll have to sit down and learn how the new features work (or how the old ones don’t).

Some of the devices we now use regularly have changed how we approach many everyday tasks. One device that does that in spades is the smartphone—which has changed much about how people communicate. It also changed a large part of how events are recorded. Slowly but surely, the phones began to include not just cameras, but superior ones. Digital photographs are now so much easier to use and distribute than the 20th century Before Staging Your SW Florida Home, Do Some “Pre-Staging”, Naples, Ft. Myers, Esteroversion that our SW Florida neighbors are texting and posting and emailing photos without giving it a second thought.

Of course, the phenomenon has a large and often-noted (here, at least) impact on SW Florida real estate, most obviously on the efficiency by which we Realtors® can stay in touch with clients, prospective buyers, our office, etc.

For homeowners who are in the opening stages of getting a SW Florida property ready for sale, the ease with which smartphone snapshots can be taken means that everyone has access to a terrific new tool. One of the most significant early jobs involves performing an assessment of what needs to be done to prepare a home for listing. Which areas needing repair or replacement? Which will benefit most from a décor makeover?

Before Staging Your SW Florida Home, Do Some “Pre-Staging”, Naples, Ft. Myers, EsteroIn practice, it’s hard for anyone to do a good job prioritizing improvements for their own home because they tend not to see things the way outsiders do. That’s where the smartphones can come in handy: call it “pre-staging.” Instead of just walking through the house, scribbling notes about what needs to be done, it’s now easy to record a series of photos of your walk-through, and then sit down and make those judgements based on how the rooms look through a lens. For the most part, because those will be snapshots rather than professionally lit glamor shots, the details will look less than gorgeous. But that’s actually useful, because it makes it easier to spot real decorating weak points. It also emphasizes to any eye the importance of the tried-and-true staging verities—such as the necessity for clearing clutter and letting in as much light as possible.

Before Staging Your SW Florida Home, Do Some “Pre-Staging”, Naples, Ft. Myers, Estero. Smartphones can be a truly useful new tool, allowing pre-staging visualization to channel early efforts into the right areas. This can be the first pass at preparing your SW Florida home for listing…along with that early first call to my office!

 

In an Ideal World, SW Florida Market Values Would Reconcile Easily

In an Ideal World, SW Florida Market Values Would Reconcile Easily. “Ideal” is a Shangri-La  kind of word. It’s not just because of its feel-good, pie-in-the-sky definition (“a standard of perfection or excellence”)—but because contained right In an Ideal World, SW Florida Market Values Would Reconcile Easilythere inside the word itself is a tacit admission. It’s only an idea—not something necessarily connected to concrete reality.

SW Florida residents don’t come across “ideal” anything very often in their daily routines, so few would be surprised to learn that even in something as important as determining the value of their SW Florida residence, the calculation turns out to be less than straightforward. The ambiguity owes to the fact that it all depends on how you look at it.

In reality, there are two quite different approaches for determining any SW Florida home’s value. Ideally, both methods would produce the same value for the same SW Florida property. That would be the Shangri-La outcome—a fine idea—but it’s seldom the case. The two methods are the Market Value approach and the Replacement Cost approach. Knowing how and why they differ explainsIn an Ideal World, SW Florida Market Values Would Reconcile Easily why they yield dissimilar results.

When SW Florida homeowners examine their home insurance policies, they may find a breakdown of the replacement cost. The face amount of such a policy is meant to cover what the current cost would be to construct a similar building of equal quality—one that would have the same utility as the one that was destroyed. Such factors as materials, labor, the builder’s overhead, profit and fees are probably part of that calculation. In actuality, some of the costs that might be encountered may not be included, though: things like demolition of the old structure, debris removal, licenses and permits. It depends on the policy.

In an Ideal World, SW Florida Market Values Would Reconcile EasilyThe market value is an estimate of the amount a buyer would pay in today’s market to purchase the same home in its current condition. Right off the bat, you can see that this would include the cost of the land—so you might deduce that its market value would automatically be greater than the replacement value. Ideally, that might be true. If the home were brand new. But for structures that have been in existence for a while, that might or might not hold true. For a home in less than top condition, the total might be less… likewise, if the local residential market were in a slump. On the other hand, for older homes having architectural details with fine workmanship that is expensive to duplicate today, the reverse would be true. You get the idea: given the vast number of variables that can influence the difference between market and replacement value calculations, it would be miraculous if the two ever came out the same.

In an Ideal World, SW Florida Market Values Would Reconcile Easily. When you are buying, selling—or even insuring—your SW Florida home, weighing market and replacement values is more than an abstract exercise. I’m here to help with those and many other issues that will help you determine how to make the choices that serve you best. Call me Today!

 

SW Florida Observers See Rise in U.S. House Flipping Activity

SW Florida Observers See Rise in U.S. House Flipping Activity. When you think about it, it was to be expected: the pace of house flipping activity in communities all over the country almost had to quicken. The market made it all but inevitable—in places where prices are on the rise while inventories remain tight, the conditions are right.

SW Florida Observers See Rise in U.S. House Flipping ActivityA “house flip” in SW Florida is what you call any SW Florida house that’s sold within a year of being purchased. House flipping happens when something unforeseen occurs that prompts a buyer to change residences more quickly than anticipated, or (much more often) when the purchase is made in the first place because the buyer sees an opportunity to make a profit.

House flipping became all the rage for a while during the housing bubble of the mid-2000s, hitting a peak in 2005. Half a dozen TV series were launched that popularized the adventures of itinerant flippers, tracing their footsteps as they acquired, fixed up, then sold properties for enticing large premiums. The best of them depicted not simply the money to be made, but also the hard work (and occasional disappointment) that accompanied the house flipping phenomenon.

Then came the bursting of the ‘bubble’ and the consequential drop in enthusiasm for house flipping. RealtyTrac, the authority on U.S. housing data, also keeps tabs on the flipping statistics. This month they reported a new trend in action:SW Florida Observers See Rise in U.S. House Flipping Activity an increase in the share of homes and condos flipped in 2015: 179,778, which is more than 1 in 20, and “the first annual increase in the share of homes flipped following four consecutive years of decreases.”    

That total means that the total number of investors who completed at least one flip in 2015 was at the highest level since 2007. According to RealtyTrac, the homes flipped last year yielded a national average gross profit of $55,000: “the highest for flips nationally since 2005.” Moreover, they found that the return on investment was more than 45% (up from 35% in 2005).

For us locally, the question is what that might signify for SW Florida real estate. On the one hand, there are those observers who tend to take the view that whenever house flipping takes off in earnest, it indicates that a real estate market SW Florida Observers See Rise in U.S. House Flipping Activityis becoming overheated—that prices are rising too quickly. That is definitely something SW Florida could do without. But a slightly more convincing reading was put forward earlier this month by commentator Diana Olick on CNBC. She found that, unlike many of the earlier house flipping participants, “data indicate that flippers in 2015 continued to operate within relatively conservative margins.” That means that they typically bought homes that were not wildly underpriced, then sold them at price points close to their estimated market values. They were also not usually buying with the perilously small financial cushions that typified earlier flippers. That had also been a hallmark in the mid-2000s, when the ready availability of cheap credit encouraged the practice. That’s no longer the case.

SW Florida Observers See Rise in U.S. House Flipping Activity. All in all, it seems as if the national house flipping trend is not at all reminiscent of previous overheated (and over-hyped) conditions. Instead, SW Florida’s real estate market looks to be more welcoming to anyone who recognizes the sustained value of the house they are looking to buy or sell. I take a great deal of pride in helping them make it happen!