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15 Ways to Prep Your Multi-Family Building Exterior for the Spring Market

In international buyers, Investing, Investor, miami, Miami-Dade County, Multi-Family Real Estate, real estate, Sellers on April 6, 2013 at 8:46 am

Spring is the season for rain, sun, flowers and humidity buildup. It is also the season buyers and sellers traditionally come out of hibernation. It is a time when folks turn to spring cleaning, regardless of whether they are selling their property or not.

However, if you are in fact, looking to sell, you will definitely want to pay close attention and properly prepare. This article will hopefully, help you get started and get you to a fast closing that nets you the most money in your pocket, ready to enjoy, retire other debt or reinvest.

As I flip channels and sometimes watch a particular product they may be selling, particularly jewelry, I notice that ‘shine’ is critical. I also notice the effect I feel when I walk up to a car dealership that keeps its cars sparkling clean versus when I walk up to a car that seems poorly maintained.

Similarly, I notice what I feel when I approach a property. As I walk through it, I notice the big and little things that say WOW. The question is, what follows that “wow”? Is it, wow this is great or is it, wow this needs a lot of work!

As rents climb or stabilize, buyers are watching for opportunities. Your job as a seller is now to convey the message to the buyer that your property has been well taken care of and that it will provide a handsome return and that it is therefore, worth their investment.

The tips below will cost little money and could go a long way to convey the right perception that attracts buyers to make an offer. Even if you are a distressed seller, the more appealing your property looks, the higher the perceived value and the more money you could net.

With this in mind, here’s how to get the exterior of your building shipshape so it tell buyers, “yes, this is a good investment”:

1. Clean the glass covers of all light fixtures and make sure to remove all bugs. Also, replace any broken or missing glass covers. Make sure they all match. If not, replace them all to match and improve the look of the fixtures.

2. Replace missing or burnt bulbs. Consider replacing every bulb with bright white energy efficient bulbs. They brighten up the common areas making it more appealing and saves energy while helping deter crime.

3. Clean or replace mailboxes. Busted mailboxes often convey a sense of neglect.

4. Clean or paint all doors and frames and replace or polish their hardware so they all match throughout.

5. Make sure the building address number and each unit number are clearly visible and neat.  You may also want to consider replacing them for a clean look.

6. Make sure all stairs, hallways and stair guardrails are clean and/or painted as needed.

7. Wash all windows and seal them right to avoid water leaks while improving energy efficiency. See that tenants cooperate by keeping old tape used during a prior hurricane watch or warning and even odd window coverings, off windows.

8. Make sure to pressure clean parking areas and that they are swept clean. If necessary, cover driveway and parking areas with a fresh coat of tar. Check that all parking stoppers are painted and if appropriate, labeled.

9. Rake the lawn and ensure all green areas are trimmed.  Use fresh mulch or stones accordingly to cover patches, driveways and other areas. Plant fresh flowers or plants if possible. These are often inexpensive and greatly ‘green-up’ common areas.

10. Clean all debris from gutters and drain spouts and repair or replace them as needed.

11. If there is a community barbeque, be sure to clean it thoroughly and wash down the lid if there is one.  Replace a worn cover if needed.

12. If there is a community swimming pool, make sure it sparkles. Treat or repair any surrounding pool ground area that isn’t perfect.

13. If there is patio or pool-area furniture, make sure it is clean. Remove or replace any broken pieces.

14. Check your roof and make sure to repair or replace any missing or damaged shingles or tiles. Make sure to apply a sealant to flat roofs. Even if it does not seem necessary, this is a small expense compared to what a poor roof inspection result may represent.

15. Paint. Although this could be the costlier of the cosmetic preparations, I can’t say enough about this, especially if the building has not been painted for 3+ years. When it comes to selling, remember, ‘sparkle’ is key and nothing sparkles more than a fresh coat of neutral color paint. Make sure it is properly done and that cosmetic cracks are patched prior to application.

Now, go ahead and comment on any of the above or add your own to the list.

As a buyer, what items do you look for when you walk through the exterior of a building you are considering?

Also, as a buyer, HOW is your offer price affected by either a positive or negative impression you experience while walking the exterior of a property? How much more or less would you offer be as a result of your experience?

Get your home Sold faster

In real estate, Sellers, Short Sales, Trends on September 2, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Many sellers have bought and sold more than one home in their lifetime.  Today, these sellers struggle to understand that this is not the market they bought their current home in, nor the market they sold their previous home in.  They may even be holding on to the hope that the market will recover “soon” and holding on to past selling experiences that no longer work.

In fact, these reluctant sellers could sell their home soon(er) if they could only wrap their head around a few simple selling tricks. These are the same tricks professionals and most successful sellers (those who’s homes are now showing in the “Homes Sold” statistics you receive from your agent), have used to get their home SOLD. What tricks did they use you ask? Simple…

Use Sales Incentives

Incentives are used to market everything, from car insurance, to beds, cars, clothing, airline tickets, etc. Don’t think so? Consider paying attention to the incentives used by pretty much every vendor in almost every commercial on t.v. or radio.

Hec, what incentives have you used to lure your boss, employees, spouse or your kids to do something they initially did not want to do and you “incentiviced” them to?

The incentives don’t have to be big – they can be little – either way, their purpose is to get them (a buyer), to pay attention and to seek you (the seller), out over all other competing homes.

If vendors offers some sort of incentive to get you to call or at least consider their product or service, many of them spending hundreds, thousands, even millions in advertising dollars to make sure they get you to listen or have your eyeballs zoom-in on their advertisement and at least get you to think about and consider them or their product or service, then why would you not consider these tactics yourself to get what may be the largest asset you own ( your home), sold?

Here’s the best part…unlike advertisers who pre-pay for your attention, you often don’t have to spend a dime ahead of closing to get your home sold. So, what did successful sellers use to get their homes sold? Here are four tactics they used – and now, you can too:

  1. Buy-down buyer’s interest rate.  Interest rates are at all-time lows. However, if a marginally qualified buyer may be turned off by the fact that, for whatever reason they will have to buy your home with a higher interest rate, then offering to buy-down their rate may make them re-consider and choose to buy your home over a neighbor’s house. In fact, they may even like your neighbor’s house more than they like yours but, your neighbor may not offer this incentive and this “financial” reward, which may save the buyers thousands over the live of the loan, may be enough to get them to commit and buy your home instead.
  2. Pay for Closing cost.  Besides the down payment lenders require from buyers, they typically also require buyers to come to closing with an additional 3 to 6 percent of the loan amount to cover closing costs such as loan fees, title and mortgage insurance, prorated charges like taxes, homeowner’s insurance, etc. Depending on the lender or loan program the buyer applies and qualifies for, you may be able to pay all or a portion of these closing costs for the buyer. Again, if your neighbor is not willing or able to do this, this may give you the competitive edge you need to get this buyer to sign on the dotted line and place your home on the SOLD side of the equation.  Think about it.  A 3% closing cost contribution you offer to your buyer on a home that requires a $200,000 loan, represents $6,000 the buyers no longer have to bring to closing and use instead for other things like decoration, moving or just keep tucked-in for a rainy day.
  3. Offer to pay their HOA/COA dues.  If you are selling a home or condo that is in a homeowners’ or condo association, then surely you remember how these buyers may feel when that bill comes due after being depleted of cash from down payment, closing costs, moving expenses and personalization (updates, upgrades, decorating, etc). Buyers may put pencil to paper and realize that this incentive alone could get them interested in at least considering your home or condo over your neighbor’s. Obviously, you can offer to pay this fee for a period of time you negotiate – be it 6 months, a year or longer.
  4. Brokers are people too.  Smart sellers using the expert services  of real estate professionals typically understand that agents are people too, and that incentives can also move some agents to make sure your property gets shown often.  Offering to pay an extra commission as an incentive to buyer brokers also helps get your home sold. Consider that, most buyers who are ready, willing and able to make the ultimate commitment (well…after marriage), to buy a home are usually represented by a broker.  After all, buyers typically do not pay for the broker’s services and they use them for their expertise and for guidance between contract to post-closing. Since buyer brokers have to sort through dozens, sometimes hundreds of listings to decide which ones to show a buyer, it stands to reason that these brokers may be a key buffer between you and a buyer and that incentives may get them to present your home to their potential client. If the broker sees they will get pay 1% or 2% more in the chance their buyer likes your home, they will make absolutely sure to show your home first – and to as many buyers looking for your type of home they come in contact with. This, in combination with the right price and property condition, helps improve your “traffic” (or exposure), because Buyer-brokers will be sure to include your home in the list of homes they will show to all their qualified buyers.

Remember, your home must be competitively priced, must be kept in “show condition’ every time it is shown and in today’s market, you must also consider “incentives” to get buyers through your door. This increase in traffic will increase the probability of getting an offer – even multiple offers, ensuring a faster sale of your home than your neighbor’s, often at a higher price (in today’s market – property values are still fragile. Not selling today, may mean selling for less tomorrow).

Finally, none of these ideas will cost you a dime before closing, and though they may reduce your proceeds at closing, incentives will help ensure you “move-on” with your life and begin to look forward to new opportunities you will now be able to pursue and enjoy sooner – without the looming and persistent effect of a home that won’t sell.

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Your comments and opinion welcomed

Myth #1: There are No Cash Buyers; Myth #2: There is No Lending

In real estate on February 16, 2011 at 12:01 pm

I hear this from many buyers and non-believers. Unfortunately for them, there are cash buyers out there – and plenty, but there are also lenders lending.

According to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), 2,076 residential units (single family homes, condos, townhomes and villas), closed in January, 2011. Of these, 582 were non-distressed properties, 433 were short sales (pre-foreclosures) and 1052 were REO (foreclosed).

Among all properties sold (2,076), 1370 properties sold for cash. Among these, 306 were non-distressed, 791 were REO properties and 267 were short sales.

The remaining 706 units closed in January, 2011, closed with some form of financing. The most common non-cash purchasing methods used by buyers these days were conventional financing and FHA, signaling that, contrary to popular belief, lending is NOT frozen – but buyer and property must both qualify.

There are 3 types of sellers these days. Which one is the top performer?

In real estate on February 16, 2011 at 11:13 am

These days, there are 3 types of sellers under two major categories: Distressed Sellers and Non-Distressed Sellers.

The first major category are the Distressed Sellers which include two distinctly different types of sellers. One, is all lenders dumping acquired inventory assets (well…these are really a liability to them that are not producing for them), via foreclosure auction. These are what are known as REO property or Real Estate Owned (once bought back at auction by the lender).

The second type of Distressed Seller is John and Jane Distressed Seller who for whatever reason, may now be facing foreclosure and are only able to get out from under this cloud by selling during the pre-foreclosure stage via the Short Sale process.

The second major category of seller is the Non-Distressed seller. This does not mean that if they were to sell at true market value (today’s true market value), they wouldn’t be selling for less than they owe and be considered Distressed Sellers like John and Jane above. These sellers are often fishing to find a buyer though many times, you also find reasonable sellers in this category looking to get what they can today.

The type of buyer that overpays and buys one of these non-distressed properties are mostly those looking to completely avoid the hassles of buying distressed properties and are cash buyers with a long-term outlook to owning these.

January, 2011 saw drops in New Listings, Total Available Inventory and Closed REO Sales from December, 2010. However, every category mentioned before is sharply up from January, 2010 and comparing Q1/2009 to Q1/2010 as demonstrated by the chart below.

Short Sales have performed quite differently, signaling that lenders are STILL not looking to help homeowners by helping streamline the short sale process. Although Short Sales typically sell for more, maintain a more stable market by keeping families in their home (rather than creating vacancies), cost less in legal fees, help family and neighborhood morale, have a potential for increased goodwill towards the institution for helping rather than foreclosing, help current owners become more responsible owners again in as little as 2-3 years when they’re able to buy again rather than 7-10 years or more because of the foreclosure mark in their credit and other factors, neither the government nor institutions do enough still to encourage short sales over foreclosures. This sentiment is reflected in the numbers seen below.

In spite of the above, we can see a surge of 37.6% in Pending Short Sales from December, 2010 to January, 2011. Year-over-Year and Q2Q however, the numbers are not as impressive as those in the REO category.

The biggest underperformer among the 3 seller types are the Non-Distressed Sellers, as seen below.

Incredibly, this category has the largest inventory of available properties for sale among all seller types in the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and yet, the lowest performance of Pending and Closed Sales. The chances of sellers in this category to move from the “I wish to sell” list to the “I Sold” list are almost like the chances of winning the lottery and a reflection of the disconnect between these sellers and today’s reality – even after 3+ years of this!

In short, Buyers ARE SMART and have online access to information that makes them smart. Also, professionals in the business are able to provide them the same data sellers see during the Listing Presentation. Somehow, they both (buyers and sellers), see and hear a different message whereby, sellers still ‘think; things aren’t as bad as the agent is showing them and buyers appear convinced that there are (and are actively pursuing), those deals ‘on sale’.

After all, why pay retail when you can buy wholesale?!

Sellers who do not need to sell and refuse to understand this, must be prepared to have their property just sit on the market for a long time.

Months of Inventory based on Closed Sales tell a very telling story when it comes to which market is performing. This is a measure of how long it is taking a property to go from Listing to Closed in months. Below, is the Months of Inventory based on Closed Sales for each as follows:

Non-Distressed Sellers

Short Sales (pre-foreclosures)

REO (lender owned / foreclosed)

While it takes about 2-months to list and close an REO, about 18-months to list and close a Short Sale (mostly because the process is not yet streamlined), it is taking about 2 years to list and close non-distressed property according to January, 2011’s numbers.

Thus the phrase “BUYER’S MARKET” – in which we’re clearly, still in it.

Disclaimer: All charts are created from reports published February 2011, based on data available at the end of January 2011. This representation is based in whole or in part on data supplied by Realtor Association of Greater Miami and the Beaches, Realtor Association of Miami-Dade County, Realtor Association of Greater Fort Lauderdale and Northwestern Dade Association of Realtors. Neither the Board or its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the Board or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market.

MIAMI’S CLOSED PRICES UP FOR SECOND MONTH IN A ROW

In Buyers, First Time Sellers, First-Time Buyer, florida, Home Buyer, home sellers, homeowner, Industry trends, Interest Rates, Investing, Investor, Kiyosaki, miami, miami beach, Miami-Dade County, real estate, second home, Self-Directed IRA, Sellers, Short Sales, South Beach, Trends, Wenceslao on December 10, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Not surprisingly, Miami-Dade county’s Average and Median Closed prices were up again, for the second month in a row.

Recently, you read my blog post “LISTENING TO NATIONAL REAL ESTATE NEWS MAY BE DANGEROUS TO YOUR FINANCIAL HEALTH” where in response to recent news claiming that national resale prices were down 2% in Q3/2010, I reported that these were already stale reports that were 2-months old and that by contrast, in October, 2010, the Average Closed Price in Miami-Dade had gone up 6.3% while the Median Closed Price went up 5.5% from September, 2010.

As it turns out in November, 2010 and for the second month in a row, the Average Closed Price in Miami-Dade went up another 5.7% and Median Closed Prices also went up another 3.8% from Oct./2010.

Although the number of properties Sold went down 9.4% from October, 2010, and 1.1% from October, 2009, the number of Pending Sales was up again by 4.1% from October 2010 and up 38.3% from October, 2009.

So, is this proof certain that we’ve hit bottom? I don’t know.

What I do know is that, if you are looking to buy in Miami-Dade county, and you are looking to close before the 12/31/2010 deadline so you can get the deductibility and Homestead Exemption, you must hurry.

Although you do not need to have the deed recorded by 12/31/2010, all documents must be executed by then.

Also, waiting may already cost some people about 12% more based on the recent increases in the Average Closed Price since September, 2010 and 9.3% more based on the Median Closed Price since September, 2010, which stood at $125,000 then and stands at $135,000 as of November, 2010.

Sellers must also understand that, this is NO time to play or allow greed to take over. It is time however to get serious about discussing your marketing with your Realtor.

There are several components of marketing and Sellers control one of the most critical: PRICE

Although a buyer’s ability to have easy access to see the property and how the property shows (is it staged or cluttered), are also two-critical components sellers control, price is a function of almost everything else, including property condition, market condition and other factors we cannot control.

Your professional Realtor controls the promotion and marketing of the property. However, when a property does not show very well or making showing appointments becomes inconvenient for buyers, your Realtor’s best efforts to get the property sold at the highest price, within the shortest time and the least hassles, may be (at least to a degree), negated.

Buyers on the other hand are competing for deals with other buyers and investors. This is no time to hesitate, over-analyze or waste time before looking at the potential deals your Realtor is sending you. It is also no time to second-guess prices if you are at risk of suddenly, being priced out of the market.

With prices on the rise and interest rates also on the rise (even if marginal), the combination of higher prices and higher rates could be lethal to a border-line buyer.

If you are looking to make a purchase or selling decision in the next 15-30 days, don’t hesitate to contact a professional Realtor (remember, not all real estate agents are Realtors – members of the National Association of Realtors who adhere to a strict Code of Ethics), and one who is additionally trained in helping you navigate through the idiosyncrasies of distressed properties*.

If you are looking to sell (not list for sale but list to sell), you may request a Free Market Analysis at FreeMiamiHomeValuation. There is no cost or obligation and you will also get two special reports with your Free Valuation report and will also entitle you to a 30-minute, no cost or obligation consultation.

For Miami Beach, the numbers are even more staggering.  Closed sales in November, 2010 were up 5.9% from October, 2010 and up a whopping 38.5% from October, 2009.

At the same time, Pending Sales in November, 2010 were up 42.1% from October, 2010 while up an incredible 80% from October, 2009, clearly demonstrating that the beaches, as a localized location, is quite more attractive and continues to produce strong results.

More on Miami Beach on a separate post.

*Visit www.CDPE.com and find a Certified Distressed Property Agent near you.  With about 29,000 CDPE’s nationwide, this is the largest professional association of its kind in the nation.

What can $200,000 buy in Miami or Miami Beach?

In real estate on June 4, 2009 at 3:22 pm

For $200K, you could buy a cool car like a Lamborghini Gallardo, pay for a four year degree at a private university or a buy place you can call “home” that can last you a lifetime (then, even bequest to your children and your children’s children – it has happened, you know).

This may sound too good to be true, but not these days. Check out a few statistics from our MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and ask yourself…is this the right time to buy?

In Miami-Dade County, there are approximately 11,470 Single Family Houses (SFH), actively for sale (all figures are as of the time of this publishing), of which, approximately 7500 (or about 65% of all SFH in the MLS) are for sale at or below  $400,000 (within FNMA guidelines and the only price group considered for this posting), while there are approximately 3400 SFH for sale at or below $200,000! The breakdown looks like this:

Price Range

Quantity

Average DOM

Summary

List Price

$149,999 or under

1,813

99.67

High

$400,000

$150,000 –  $199,999

1,547

99.25

Low

$9,900*

$200,000 – $249,999

1,257

157.75

Average

$222,681

$250,000 – $299,999

1,283

55.33

Median

$219,900

$300,000 – $349,999

787

102.38

 

$350,000 – $399,999

826

63.5

 

$400,000

40

0

 

*May be an error such as a rental incorrectly indicated for sale

In Miami Beach however, there are very few homes in this price range. In fact, there are less than 30 homes for sale below $400,000 in zip codes 33139, 33140 and 33141.  However, the same can’t be said for condominiums.  Out of a total of about 2300 condo units actively for sale at or below $400,000, the breakdown looks like this:

Price Range

Quantity

Average DOM

Summary

List Price

$149,999 or under

555

124.75

High

$400,000

$150,000 – $199,999

472

167.33

Low

$950*

$200,000 – $249,999

321

135

Average

$229,156

$250,000 – $299,999

374

0

Median

$220,000

$300,000 – $349,999

247

93.8

 

$350,000 – $399,999

321

0

 

$400,000

12

0

 

*Again, maybe a rental.

In this market, you can get a lot of bang for fewer bucks.  In fact, there are approximately 3000 SFH in Miami plus about 470 condos under contract pending in the Miami Beach area.

In addition, there have been approximately 4270 closed SFH transactions (again, all numbers are for properties at or below $400,000),  in the last 6 months (about 730 closed in May).  This is in contrast to the approximately 6400 SFH transactions closed by Realtors in all of 2008 so that, we should be able to easily beat 2008 closed sales in 2009.

Meanwhile we’ve had 712 closed Condo transactions in the Miami Beach area in the last 6 months (about 138 closed in May). Again, this is in contrast to the approximately 1428 Condo transactions closed by Realtors in all of 2008 so that, we should be able to also beat 2008 Condo closed sales in 2009.

Of all the inventory in Miami Beach, about 56 Condo units are REO (Real Estate Owned  typically taken back by lenders at auction after foreclosure) and about 790 are Short Sales (pre-foreclosures which are being sold for less than it is owed to the lenders).

In Miami, there are about 722 REO Single Family Houses and about 4100 SFH being offered as Short Sale in the MLS.

This leads to my final analysis.  Of all the SFH Pending contract, about 1200 are Short Sales and another 1358 are REO properties, while about 2600 REO Single Family Houses Closed in the last 6 months in Miami and another 433 Short Sales closed in the same time period.

In Miami Beach, there are about 100 Pending REO Condo sales while there are about 170 Condo Short Sales pending contract. Meanwhile, there were about 90 closed Short Sale and another 200 closed REO condos deals sold in the last 6 months.

For those looking for opportunities, fret no more because in Miami Beach, there are still about 50 REO and about 790 Short Sale Condominiums available for sale while there are about 720 REO and about 4200 Short Sale Single Family Houses available for sale to those ready to act today.

In the end, only those who prepare will get to cherry pick. Yet, buyers must understand that in this market, buying distressed properties requires different processes than that of regular sales and so, buyers must know how to present their offers so they get accepted.

This is no time to go it alone. Have a competent Realtor (member of a local board and the National Association of Realtors who adhere to a strict Code of Ethics) represent you (after all, the seller has one representing them), and preferably, one who is also a Certified Distressed Property Expert. There about 7500 of these nationwide and you can find one near you at www.CDPE.com.

Remember always…Luck is when Preparation Meets Opportunity.

It’s a Wonderful Day in the Neighborhood

In Uncategorized on February 29, 2008 at 10:57 am

At REALTOR.com’s new “Find aNeighborhood” site, home buyers and real estate investors now have another tool to add to their online arsenal of research resources.

Site visitors can now learn how many homes are for sale in a given market or defined geographic area, research the rental market, collect demographic data, and even learn about lifestyle profiles in specific neighborhoods.

People who are considering a move can also literally find out if it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood by studying the area’s weather index and historical climate data, and can zoom in on specific locations using satellite imagery.

See below for more and contact me for any specific information about the value of your property, how to sell fast and for top dollar even in this market, or even how to stage your property for sale.Just click HERE to begin your neighborhood search.

In addition, note that this search can be made for any neighorhood in the country.  It is not limited to Miami-Dade County, Florida. 

So, if you are considering a move to another city in the US or if you are considering a move to South Florida and you would like to get all the necessary facts before you begin your house-hunting, this tool will proof to be a great starting point.

This is an ideal stop for anyone in the military being reassigned, anyone relocating due to work requirements or just looking for adventure and opportunities in a new location, foreign nationals looking to move to South Florida or to exploit buying opportunities of a second home or vacation home now afforded by the favorable currency exchange, or investors looking for opportunities across the US.

Obviously, dealing with a competent Realtor during to guide you throught the process, from making sure you work with a competent mortgage consultant for pre-approval, to helping you find properties that meet your specific needs, to post-closing, a Realtor could be an invaluable resource for you.

Meanwhile, enjoy your search.  You are making a very intelligent decision today.

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