Saturday, October 17, 2009

I'm good.

Space shuttle launch as seen from the International Space Station.

September's unseasonably strong sales trend is intact halfway through October. As of this morning twenty condos and townhomes listed on the Cocoa Beach MLS have closed in the two-city market, eight of them in Cape Canaveral. Last October saw only 23 total closed sales in the month. We look to easily trounce that number this year with 31 newly accepted contracts since the 1st of October in addition to those already pending. Half of the closed condo sales so far are for less than $180,000 with only one for over $500,000. The price trend continues to creep downward in most instances with a few notable exceptions.

There have been three single-family home sales in the two cities so far, highest price; $226,000 for a nice, updated 3/2 on Curacau in Cocoa Isles.

A top floor Mystic Vistas "A" building, east-facing, 3/2, furnished, closed for $403,500, twice what lesser view units have closed for recently in the complex.

A 3rd floor north corner, 3/3 Meridian, also furnished, sold for $725,000.

A top floor never lived in Garden Bay 3/3.5 closed for $410,000 or about $200,000 off the original asking price.

A 4th floor south view River Bend 3/2 in south Cocoa Beach sold for $240,000 as a short sale. Incidentally, only two of the twenty closed sales this month have been short sales, a surprising trend I noted last month.

A very nice, four year old Bayport 3/2 townhome with 2-car garage in Cape Canaveral closed for $205,000.

The uncertainty of association health was apparently mitigated enough by a super-low price on a foreclosed South Beach Keys unit that someone was willing to step up and take the risk. This direct Banana River 3/2 unit with 2-car garage in south Cocoa Beach that sold new in 2006 for $495,000 went for a shocking $175,000. Expect more news from this small complex.

A Majestic Bay townhouse in Cape Canaveral that sold new in 2005 for $274,900 sold as a short sale for $140,000. Not bad for a 4 year old townhome with 2-car garage.

And, a Brisa del Mar condo conversion on Ridgewood Ave. that sold for $200,000 in 2005 closed for $90,000.

I was sitting in the water recently on a small, glassy day on a 7'0" fun shape when my 15 year old neighbor paddled over and asked why I wasn't riding my longboard. I said, "I'll ride it if you'll go in and get it for me." Laza looked at me like I'd suddenly sprouted antlers, said, "I'm good" and paddled off for saner waters. Kids.

I'm off on a boat delivery tomorrow and will be incommunicado for a week or so, weather depending. In the interim, Danielle can be reached at for any issues or inquiries. As a wise man once said, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."

Thursday, October 08, 2009

A tale of two sales

Short sale craziness continues. The short sale team in my office took two short sale listings a few days apart in August. At the time, neither seller had done any preliminary work with their respective lenders. The team went to work getting the hardship and other required documentation together from the sellers for submission to the lenders. Both properties got offers shortly which were submitted within days of one another to the lenders along with all requested documentation. Both sellers had legitimate hardship. Forty days later, one sale was approved in writing and ready to close while the other lender was still asking for more and more documentation. The seller confessed yesterday that he had continued to make mortgage payments the whole time that we were trying to negotiate a short sale with his lender. Asking a lender to approve a short sale while the mortgage is current is like panhandling in an Armani suit. Chances of success are slim.

The take-away: If a property owner has the resources to stay current on the mortgage and does so, the lender will be way less motivated to agree to a short sale or modification. Why should a lender write off tens of thousands of dollars when they can just continue to accept timely payments? Any reader considering pursuing a short sale needs to understand that hardship must be real and able to be proven. Prepare to be asked for documentation similar to that required to obtain a new loan. Without proof of hardship, chances of approval approach zero. With proper documentation, real hardship and an experienced short sale negotiator a seller stands a good chance of successfully selling a property short.

"You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else."
___________Albert Einstein

Friday, October 02, 2009

Wake up - September's finished

How bout that graph? September condo sales in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral spiked up considerably over the previous year with 44 closed MLS sales of condos and townhomes during the month. There were four closed single-family home sales during the month, all in Cocoa Beach. One surprising stat was the fact that, of the 44 condo sales, only five were short sales.

The lowest price condo sale was $13,800 for a foreclosed 1/1 Golden Gate Manor unit in Cape Canaveral that sold in 2006 for $82,500. That's a mind-numbing 83% off the peak. The highest price condo sale was $555,000 for a never-lived-in Michelina 5th floor corner, 3/3, 2524 sq. ft. This same unit was asking $849,500 just one year ago. It was the only condo sale for more than $500,000 in the month. The adjacent, slightly bigger Michelina unit (not a corner) also closed for $450,000 or $177 per square foot. Not bad for brand new oceanfront, even if side view.

A 7th floor, 3/2 Crescent Beach Club in south Cocoa Beach closed for $325,000 which bumps the comps down slightly for that building which is well into a major and very expensive concrete restoration project.

Harbor Isles was on fire in September with five closed sales. Not surprisingly, the ever-present Betty Siegel was involved in three of those sales. Looking back over the stats for the year, there have been ten MLS sales in Harbor Isles. Of the ten, my office has represented one or both sides of eight of those transactions with Betty being involved in six. You go, girl.

Another Hacienda del Mar direct ocean 2/2, 4th floor with garage sold for $248,500. It was in original condition.

I was able to close a short sale at Cape Winds of a direct ocean ground floor 2/2 with the wide patio for $210,000, a new low for direct ocean units in this very popular complex. With this sale and two other pending short sales there, the other overly optimistic sellers will now have to come to terms with the new reality.

There were three sales in the month of 2 bedroom units at Ocean Woods in Cape Canaveral at prices from $129,000 to $155,000.

In head-scratching news, in a year in which a total of only 20 units have closed for over $500,000 ( half of those at The Meridian) eight pre-construction units in an unbuilt oceanfront building in south Cocoa Beach popped up on the MLS this week at prices from $800,000 to $1,050,000. The same developer is offering 16 other units in four different completed new buildings on the MLS, most or all having been reduced substantially in price. A+ for optimism.

Fishermen, the mullet run is back on in force. There are acres of mullet moving south along the beach with packs of predators in attendance. This is the best time of year for fishing from the beach with opportunities to catch snook, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, kingfish, trout, redfish and tarpon among others. Take advantage if you enjoy fishing but, whatever you do, enjoy October for all the other reasons that make this month my favorite of the year in Cocoa Beach.

"As my memory rests but never forgets what I lost
Wake me up when September ends."____Green Day

No one the wiser

I often write pieces that never see the light of day here on the blog. The piece that I wrote yesterday and intended to post today will become one of those lost letters. In my next-day read this morning the account appears somewhat inflammatory and would probably have caused some ruffling of feathers and almost certainly some backlash. Perhaps less specific references to the guilty parties will make the story acceptable. Here goes.

There once was a broker who ran a successful real estate office in a cute coastal town. One of the broker's trusty agents found an opportunity to pocket $325 of his client's money in a property management transaction with no one the wiser. The client from whom the money was stolen found out quite by accident a few months later about the theft and confronted the agent. The agent played dumb and referred the client to his broker for resolution. The broker defended the agent and refused to return the client's money. The client elected not to pursue the matter. The larcenous agent continued his career with now-obvious support for his business style and the broker rose to a more prominent position in the local real estate community and continued to prosper. No one the wiser.

"The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be."