I can’t tell you how many properties we sold last week because I don’t have those numbers in front of me as I write this Blog, but I can tell you we were busy and several did go pending.  We had multiple offers on several properties, which I’ll tell you more about later on.

We’ll be updating our SW Florida Bank Owned Bargains page tomorrow.

The best priced properties are selling in SW Florida, and many are bank foreclosures, but not all.  Many have predicted that bank foreclosures would top out last month, and we were hopeful as well because we saw 2-3 months of declining rates.  I spoke with good friend Jeff Tumbarello today who tracks Lis Pendens with the county probably better than anyone, and he tells me April will be another record setting month.  When I heard the number I was amazed.  We’ll let him announce it tomorrow, but this just tells me we have another wave coming, so stay tuned for some more upcoming bargains.

A lot of our regular sellers are selling now as well, so it’s not just the foreclosures.  Basically anything that is priced at market is selling, and buyers are jumping off the fence in droves.  We think when April sales numbers are released next month there will be an uptick in closed sales, because we’re seeing it.  In fact, we just hired another staff person to keep up with the workflow, and we’re hiring buyer specialists right now as well.

Back to the multiple offers.  Everyone probably thinks as a listing agent having multiple offers is fun.  All I can say is it is more fun than having a listing for months and no offers, but the fun ends about there.  Last week we had several properties receive multiple offers.  One had four offers, and the agents involved just had to have this property for their buyers.  We let each agent know that we had several offers and gave each of them ample notice to inform their buyer and come with their best offer.  Each one did, and was convinced the bank should sell to their buyer and their buyer alone.

There truly was one offer that was better than the others, and another offer that was perhaps second best, and so on.  The best offer was never in question, and by definition the bank can only accept one offer, so it should be no surprise that there will be one winner and 3 losers.  In this case, the losers didn’t take it well and wanted to know why their offer wasn’t taken, told us how their buyer deserved this home, and so on and so on.  One even tried to complain to the bank directly about how they didn’t like the process.

From a listing agent standpoint, it’s never fun to have to tell 3 people they didn’t get the home they wanted.  I spent all weekend talking with these agents, even though I couldn’t present the offers until Monday morning when the bank opened.  There were a few procedures that must be followed, such as one about pre-approval letters that must accompany the offers, but some saw fit to not do this step until after I told them they wouldn’t get the property without it.  I spent almost all day Monday dealing with this one property.  As a listing agent, I can only sell it once, but I had to deal with four agents all weekend and all day Monday, and three were Mad at the outcome.

Then I had to start all over with another property, and another.  Invariably we get some agents who don’t or won’t understand the process and work to do what is necessary to get their buyer the property.  I received an offer today from an agent who didn’t like the counter-offer I gave them back.  She informed me that the bank should know it’s a buyer’s market, future assessments are coming, and so on and so on.  I tried to tell her the bank gets a BPO from me and they do their own appraisal.  This property today is listed well below my BPO number I thought it was worth, and I was being conservative.

Still, they are arguing over the price, meanwhile the property had several more showings today.  Most of these bank foreclosures sell at or above full price, and it’s only a matter of time before we get multiple offers.  This could happen tomorrow if we don’t get this property wrapped up soon.  And if it happens, I hope to not have to hear about how this buyer deserved the property, had their offer in first, why it’s stupid for the bank to counter-offer, etc.  It’s a good deal and I hope this buyer sees it.  If not, another one will soon, I am certain of that.

Bottom line is even when you’re getting multiple offers, it’s not always fun.  Many buyers, some of our own included, are learning the hard way that their first and second choices are being sold out from under them and they’re left with their third choice.  Buyers have read for so long how terrible this market is, and they believe it.  The sooner buyers hear and believe what really is happening on the streets, the more likely it will be that they’ll get their first or second choice instead of the left overs.  Listen to your agent, and don’t doubt that there are some positives in this market.  The headline of the story doesn’t always match the article, so read the entire article.

Ask your agent.  A multiple offer situation is not fun for the listing or selling agents.  Buyers are placed under a large amount of stress, and agents do the best they can for their client.  I know the agent today who is telling me what the bank should know is just doing her job the best way she knows how.  I hope secretly that she’s telling her buyer what a good deal this house is and to now mess around and lose it.  One of our buyers took too long this past week and just lost out on a nice golf course home in Fort Myers.  They had a verbal agreement, but took a week to get back with us and by the time they could get a formal contract to us, another buyer had come along and beaten them to the punch.  The seller was not obligated to honor a verbal and took the higher offer that was in writing.

The lesson to this story, if you’re going to steal, don’t do it in slow motion.  And don’t get too greedy fighting over the last few thousand dollars.  Get the deal and get it wrapped up.  Otherwise. you’ll be on your 3rd choice in no time.  Stay tuned and watch for some big foreclosure numbers, but don’t just read the headline.  Read the whole story, and the story in the days that follow.  Our market has a silver lining.  And stay tuned for more deals to come.  We have several on the way, so call our office if you’d like in on one of these deals.

This weeks guest on the Future of Real Estate will be local attorney Kevin Jursinski who will explain his Deed in Reduction program and how it benefits borrowers and lenders alike  to minimize costs associated with short sales and foreclosures.  We’ll ask Kevin tough questions on various situations ranging from credit repair scams, to working with lenders to take a lower amount than what is owed in order to sell at today’s lower market values.

If you’re considering buying a short sale or foreclosure, or if you’re considering selling property in SW Florida, you’ll definitely want to tune in to this week’s show on AM 1240 Saturdays at 11:00 AM, and re-broadcast over the Internet at NBC-2.com and www.Topagent.com

 

This is the brand new 3 bedroom Belvedere Model from 1st Homes.

This beautiful Lehigh Acres, Forida home boasts many wonderful features including a spacious great room floor plan, a tech center or computer area centrally located near kitchen which is great for the kids or your home office area. The master suite offers his and hers closets and  two additional linen closets. There is a pantry in the kitchen and so much more.

This phenomenal value includes an attractive appliance package, security system, garage door opener and is warranted! At $110,000 this bank owned property will not last long.

Call the Ellis Team today to see this home or any of the many Lee County foreclosures, short sales and bank owned properties we have available.

SW Florida bank foreclosure auctionLast week we attended a major bank auction in SW Florida.  Over 100 homes were auctioned off.  One investor in attendance said that of the over 100 properties, only 6 were absolute and the rest were subject to investor approval, which if true means most of these will come back on the market

Most of the properties didn’t fetch a very high price, so they may very well not be acceptable to the end investor.  We will attemot to verify this with the bank.  The buyer has to wait up to 15 days to see if the investor on the loan takes the offer from the auction.

The Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group lists a lot of the properties for this bank, so we may end up listing a good percentage of these listings that do come back on the market.  We did notice a few properties where the buyer overpaid for the home.  These buyers were probably inexperienced and didn’t bring a broker with them  to the auction to advise them they could have bought similiar properties in the same neighborhood for less money.  However, most properties went so far under value that most of the investors may not accept the offers, so many of these winning bidders will be disappointed.

Since the auction the bank has told many buyers and agents to contact us to be first on the list when we get thee properties in.  We get orders for the properties before they go in MLS.  We are identified as the listing agents, but it takes the bank a few weeks to tell us what the price is and authorize us to place it in MLS.  If you’d like to be on the list, give our office a call.  We plan to setup a group list whereby we can notify everyone at once when we get these listings.  They tend to be some very good buys.  For instance, we just listed a newer home in Lehigh Acres for $75,900.  It is an excellent buy.

The Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group is hosting another free SW Florida real estate short sale seminar on Monday, November 26, 2007 at 7 PM  We will teach buyers how to effectively purchase properties in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and all of Southwest Florida at or below fair market value.

Registration is FREE, and you must call our office at 239-489-4042 as seating is limited.

Not surprisingly, foreclosures in SW Florida are on the rise.  This can be caused for several reasons, most notably investors who should not have been in the market, marginal buyers who bought with an adjustable rate mortgage so they could qualify and the adjustments are adjusting right now and they can’t afford the new payment, rising insurance, and rising property taxes.

All combined have put pressure on the people who could least afford it.  Some agents have speculated that when the foreclosures happen, it will make for sweet deals for investors and home buyers.  I respectfully disagree, and I’ll explain why.

Many people bought with 100% or 95% financing at the top of the market.  The market has dropped around 20%, and the sellers are now upside down on their loan.  They don’t have the cash reequired at closing to offer the home at today’s market value, so they cannot sell.  No deal for a would be investor/buyer.  Many foreclosed homes are also in need of much repair, so you wouldn’t want to pay full market value on a property that needs money thrown at it.

Most people who buy foreclosures want a deal.  The deal just isn’t there from the seller.  You’ll get a better deal waiting for the bank to take it back.  Banks are no dummies, they get BPO’s (Broker Price Opinions) and appraisals.  They limit what they’ll lose by selling it for as much as they can get.  Some banks actually try to make a profit because it was insured with PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) so the bank’s exposure is only 80% of the original market value.  Coincidently, that’s about how much it may have gone down, plus repair costs, attorneys fees for the foreclosure, and lost interest.

Boiling this all down, it’s usually better to purchase from a seller who has priced their home at today’s market value, not what they owe, what they paid for it last year, or what they think it was worth last year.  There are many sellers out there who are listening to the market, and pricing it at market.  Those sellers are selling.  The backlog of inventory is from sellers who either won’t listen to the current market, won’t listen to their Realtor, have the wrong agent who also doesn’t know, or have a property that’s really hard to judge what the real value is.

If the seller doesn’t know the real value, the buyer isn’t likely to gamble on it either unless it’s a unique to what a buyer is looking for, or is simply irrestible.

Bottom line is, there are good values out there, just don’t count on the foreclosure market to provide them.

Real Estate Bubble Ready to Burst? NBC interviews top agent Brett Ellis about the housing bubble boom or bust and where SW Florida market is headed. Complete with video (No longer active).  NBC Nightly News feature on foreclosures in SW Florida  Brett Ellis is known for his statistical analysis of the SWFL real estate market, and his Current Market Index, which accurately predicts where the market is headed. Brett works with his mother Sande Ellis, and together they lea d the market in Southwest Florida. View their website.

Our analysis shows the SW Florida real estate market may be headed for a real estate bubble, and soon. At some point, the what a bigger fool will pay philosophy will have to end.  We don’t have end users for all of this new construction.

See our Innovative Sales Tactics as reported by NBC-2.

Economist: Gradual moderation of real estate market likely (Link no longer active from Naples Daily News) Noted economist Hank Fishkind addresses mortgage rates, retirees, demographics, oil prices, and markets up north to come to his conclusion.