Monday, August 25, 2014
The thing that got me on this subject again was the recent big increase of properties being listed by out-of-town agents. Over the years I've worked in the Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral market, most property listings here have been with local offices. I suspect most US markets have been the same. Makes sense to have a broker who knows the market and is readily available for buyers and their agents. Things are different now and the change happened quickly. Over a third of the new listings in the last two months in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral are with agents and/or offices in other cities. There have always been some agents in other cities in our county who would have the occasional listing here, even some who did quite a bit of business, but never the proportion that we're seeing now. What happened? Consumers embraced the big online real estate sites for their real estate research and in the process discovered what appeared to be an easy way to find a local Realtor in their target market. The problem? The sites allow anyone willing to write a monthly check, no matter their location or qualifications, to buy their way into the list of local agents.
I searched Zillow this morning for a Cocoa Beach buyer's agent. (Results were similar for seller's agents.) Out of 13 "Trusted Pros" on the first page of 500 total results, only four work in offices in Cocoa Beach or Cape Canaveral. Note that the recommended agents rotate for every search so your results may differ from mine but, after doing several searches, it's obvious that my results are typical. Two of the Cocoa Beach "Trusted Pro" agents work out of offices in other counties over an hour's drive from Cocoa Beach and another seven work out of offices in other cities in our county. Four of the recommended buyer's agents had zero sales in Cocoa Beach or Cape Canaveral in the last 12 months and another agent had one. How did they get recommended? Easy. They pay Zillow to be there. No skills, experience or even physical proximity required. I could buy my way into recommended agent status in Key West or Pensacola if I chose. My value to a buyer in either of those markets would be considerably less than most of the experienced local agents but, that wouldn't stop an online advertiser from accepting my monthly check and proclaiming me a "Trusted Pro" in the area. The same is true for these out-of-town agents on the Cocoa Beach agent list. Does it matter? If I'm landing in Tegucigalpa I'd much rather have a pilot who has experience with that hairy airport than a guy who is making his first landing there. The more experience with that runway, the better. An agent unfamiliar with our market might not kill you but it is not in your best interest to have her in the left seat.
Feel free to use Zillow and other online real estate sites to look for a buyer's or listing agent but do yourself a favor and at the very least select an agent in the actual town you plan to buy or sell in. And, remember that there are active experienced agents in every market like myself who choose not to pay to be included in the Zillow cluster. You may overlook your very best choice if you limit your research to paid ads. I may be forced to surrender at some point and pay to be agent number 501 in Cocoa Beach but for now I prefer to be excluded from the list even though I have hundreds of successful landings and takeoffs here and know the terrain like the back of my wrinkled hand. For anyone looking to buy or sell a place here, you'd be well-served to extend your search for an agent outside the "Trusted Pros".
"Being the quiet, mysterious one doesn't get the ladies unless you happen to be high-end handsome." __applicable metaphor
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Back to the mid 90s today. I can't imagine living anywhere but the coast in Florida. No matter the heat, we can count on the cooling sea breeze by early afternoon most days. Get away from the coast and the heat index goes Richter. The theme parks and inland golf courses must be especially brutal this time of year. Thankfully, the Cocoa Beach Country Club course sits on an exposed peninsula in the Banana river so it is exposed in most places to any breeze.
Our next scheduled launch is a SpaceX Falcon 9 in four days. Check the schedule of all upcoming launches HERE. A tropical storm could be influencing our local weather by the end of next week. A poorly organized mass is approaching the Lesser Antilles right now and moving northwest but not expected to have favorable conditions for turning into anything significant. Meh.
"Someone who is nice to you but rude to the waiter is not a nice person." anon
Thursday, August 07, 2014
I expect the slowed pace to continue. Eleven of the 255 for-sale condos are bank-owned and six are short sales. The days of high numbers of distressed sales are, for the most part, behind us. We are at the lowest ratio of distressed offerings since the first short sale closed in our market in 2008. There are 27 pending distressed contracts yet to close so the boost in numbers from those will be inconsequential. While no one was looking, our market has returned to a healthy supply and demand dynamic. Demand exceeds supply by a good margin at the moment.
Of the 45 closed condo sales in July, 25 sold for cash. Only one of the sub-$100,000 purchases was with a mortgage. A quarter of the condo sales were at prices above $285,000 and a quarter were below $107,000. The higher priced sales were a good mix of ocean and river units.
There are currently 47 direct ocean listings. Six of those are asking $250,000 or less, most in that range in older buildings along Ocean Beach Boulevard. Twenty of the units have been for sale for over 300 days telling us that they are most likely overpriced.
I hope those of you who are surfers got to enjoy our first, brief hurricane swell this week as Bertha passed off our coast. Yours truly missed it completely while scalloping off Florida's west coast. On a bright note, the scallops are thick this year and my crew was able to limit out every day in less than an hour of snorkeling the grass flats. If you've never done it, it's a great activity for kids and adults alike and the bounty is very tasty.
"...one of the worst things society has done is name adipose tissue the same thing as a macronutrient." comment on fat by a random Redditor