Monday, August 31, 2009

If Willy Loman had a blog

More of our great surf recently. Laza tags a screamer with typical nonchalance.

I continue to be amazed at the disingenuous hype being dispersed by others within my industry. I can't go to a real estate blog or website without reading the same old crap intended to entice buyers into making a move and purchasing a property. Folks, you need to be very careful choosing a buyer's agent to assist you in your search. There are plenty of warning signs that should give you pause, chief among them, the absence of cautious advice and/or undiluted enthusiasm about the market. If your agent is spending too much energy convincing you that everything is great with our market, you need to reconsider his motivations and sincerity.

and ... reason Number 1 that your agent may not be a good choice: He makes a blanket, unqualified statement containing any variation of the words, "Now is a good time to buy." It may be a good time to buy some isolated properties, but, as I research the available listings on our MLS, I find far more properties that are severely over-priced than those that may qualify as a "good buy". If you accept that well-worn phrase and come into our market thinking that it applies to all properties, you may well become the next bagholder.

Having said all that, now is a good time to sift through the available properties looking for those good deals hidden among the clutter. Arm yourself with knowledge of recent sales that are comparable to the property type you're seeking and keep your focus. Don't chase something you don't want just because it's a deal or because you're impatient. Your search may have started with direct ocean units and became diverted to side views because of the lower prices. As I've said before, that forty grand you saved on the purchase price might not taste as sweet when you're sitting on your side-view balcony staring at the building next door with a cold north wind in your teeth. Patience has been rewarded this year.

Speaking of patience, let's discuss short sales. A buyer in a short sale is at the total mercy of the listing agent and, in many cases, completely in the dark throughout the process. I have worked with some real pros on the listing side (you know who you are and I thank you) and with some that are completely clueless to the process and have a possibility of closing a deal approaching zero. In addition to the listing agents who can't close a short sale, there are short sale listings in our system that are, I suspect, just bait to get the phone or in-box lit up. Proceed with skepticism and caution in this part of our market and don't even consider offering on a short sale unless you are willing to wait indefinitely. If you do put in an offer on a short sale, know that closing is not certain. Keep looking while the bank twiddles it's thumbs. It's possible to find non-short sale properties at the same levels as many of the short sales without all the hassles.

MLS inventory August 31, 2009 Cocoa Beach & Cape Canaveral

Condos, all prices_____635 - 22 sold so far in August
over $500,000_________78 - 22 sold since New Year's Day
Single family homes___108
over $500,000_________43

"Expect ALL estimates of time to be overly optimistic."_____Larry