By Marlene Graham, TROPICS REAL ESTATE, 539 5th Avenue South, Naples, FL 34102 (239) 821-9046
Contact Marlene at firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: Though Marlene Graham works the Southwest Florida Market --- Naples Real Estate, Bonita Springs, Estero and Marco Island homes, condos, land, foreclosures and short sales -- she has a network of real estate agents who are experts in other parts of Florida to whom she refers clients. At the present time she will give you those contacts verbally, though she is working on the site www.RealEstateAgentReferrals.com, also known as www.ReferralUSA.com.
Investors are already back in the Florida market. In fact in Naples, Florida (in unison with Marco Island, Bonita Springs and Estero Florida) where I live, work, recreate and enjoy life, the market is trending upward, and as I understand, the same is starting to happen in other parts of Florida, as well. Some of the bigger cities such as Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, and Tampa have, in recent months, become havens for the monied to pick up condos in an overbuilt market and though it will take longer to absorb those properties than in a smaller community such as Naples (smaller but unbelievably precious, clean and beautiful!), these cities are showing new signs of life.
Miami Herald Real Estate Article: Miami Real Estate Recovering
In Naples Florida where I consider myself an authority on the "ups and downs" of the market from both enthusiastic and painful perspectives, I can happily report that all the seriously working real estate companies in the area are reporting record sales. Once again people on the street are asking Realtors for cards, and potential clients are not having to be hypnotized in order to talk with an agent. They are actually actively seeking them out on their own! Imagine that!
Previously I worked, owned and operated five branch offices of the largest real estate company in Naples, Downing-Frye Realty; and previous to that was a top producer at John R. Wood. Then last year I opened up my own brokerage on the heavily trafficked main tourist street of Naples, Fifth Avenue South (539 5th Avenue South), near another great tourist area, 3rd Street South, both of which are just blocks from our clean, white sand beaches. I stayed the course over the last few years despite funding my business heavily and personally because I know that what goes down will go up, at least when it comes to quality real estate. And now having personally been through both the great times, and the very depressing times, as a real estate professional and as an investor, I feel much more the professional, even with the mistakes I've made. It is true that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. And from that perspective, I can certainly tell you that the whole momentum finally seems changed.
Just this week alone I have been contacted by about ten folks -- either through my many internet sites such as NaplesHomeFinders.com and NaplesTouristCenter.com and NaplesAgents.com or from walking in my door -- who are seriously interested in buying not just one property, but possibly more than one! And this is particularly interesting because we are coming out of our season into what is theoretically our slow time, but go figure. My calendar doesn't know we're coming into our slow time. Friends are getting together to buy multiple properties; families are thinking about relocating together,or starting their family tradition of a second home; retirees who thought they couldn't retire because of the economy are now rethinking that option based on low prices and low interest rates; and, of course, the investors, and yes, I hate to say it, but the flippers have been very busy, particularly in the last six to eight months. And the latter think their best chances for more heavily lining the ol' bank account is to buy before the coming season when optimism is expected to be a lot more entrenched into our thinking (i.e.: the thinking of the average population.)
And honestly as far as Naples Florida homes and condos for sale are concerned, people are definitely making money already by reselling places, or at the very least are seeing some equity built up.
Most of you who know how great Naples is will be shocked to realize that I sold a condo four miles from downtown Naples and its beaches about seven months ago, a two bedroom, two bath, for $35,000. The last time it sold, it sold for $219,000 and another unit in the complex sold for a high of $299,000. Yep, that's right. And every time I tell someone that story, they say, "Well if you ever see one again like that ..." My answer: Ain't gonna happen. Not a place as nice or as nicely located as that one.
Any day of the week this unit could resell right now for $80,000 which would still be dirt cheap for our part of the country. And people who see units at the $80,000 price currently are going to be saying to me six months from now: If you ever see one at $80,000... Yuk.
I always tell people, you can't try and buy a place for the old price after you know it has doubled in value. Well, okay, I guess you can try, but chances of it working are "slim to nil" and it doesn't make them or me any money to say: I told you so! You have to have some guts for the present to go into the future when you know the bottom is near, if not already passed. Like I told the lady with the $35,000 condo: I can almost guarantee you, this condo won't go down more than $35,000. Then I said that my guess on appreciation was that it would double in a year and half to two years, and that I thought I was being conservative. She told me I was probably wrong and truthfully, I didn't know. I couldn't dispute that. As it turned out, I WAS wrong. The condo doubled in value in less than six months!
Now that's not to say that every week or so some negative article doesn't come up in NaplesNews.com or in some national publication to make people take pause. But then beyond the headline I will realize the report is based on old numbers before the upward turn. And now there are many more positive articles about Naples specifically in such publications as Forbes and Bloomberg.
And now in some cases on the subdeals of a few months back we had been seeing multiple offer scenarios.
Incidentally, the condo I sold for $35,000 about two years back (sorry, having trouble letting go of that one) was on the market for several months at $40,000, and no one showed any interest in it until my client did. And, of course, now that they don't exist to any real extent in that price range (except for "junk") everyone wants one.
I tell them they should have wanted to buy it two years back when nearly everyone was afraid to buy --- and not now when it is obviously worth double the amount. (And to make this story even more bizarre, the lady who originally put an offer on it sight unseen, came down to see it before closing, loved it, and then called me back a few hours later to say she was thinking about backing out because she thought she was paying too much! Duh!) I told her it was okay to back out because, for goodness sakes, the commission I was going to make after all the phone calls and weeks of work was not going to make or break me, but she was buying a great condo within a very few miles of Naples' beaches for the price of a car. And she said: "Oh yeah. I did pay more for my car!" The sound you now hear is me ripping my hair out!
I sold another condo, this one on the beach for $645,000 to some friends from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The previous owner had paid 1.5 million for the property. Currently a unit of that size and direct gulf view would be very tough to get in that price range. NaplesBeachfrontCondos.com.
For the high end there was a house in Port Royal which was listed at 12 million which is now listed for less than 9 million and I think the builder paid more than 7 million for the lot! It's in Port Royal on Naples Bay! I think we sold the lowest Port Royal to one of our clients about three years ago and they got it for less than two million. If it hadn't been for the fact that Port Royal owners (and, as a real estate agent, myself included) think that was way too cheap, I'm sure it would have made the local news.
Another amazing deal, a Forest Glen "bundled golf" condo built in 2005 (many of which sold in the 300s and up) was on the market as a foreclosure (golf included) for $100,900. I took so many people to that unit, even though it was not my listing telling them they should just trust me and buy it! (Don't you hate that "trust me" terminology. If only I could think of something that sounds more sincere!) But back then, trusting real estate agents was not so cool -- and even if someone was my friend and did trust my judgement on a rudimentary level, they would have undoubtedly assumed I was being overly optimistic, or possibly delirious. As it turned out, that property sold for the exact penny and now the person could sell it tomorrow for $20,000 plus profits.
As this website and blog continues onward, I would like to get reports from real estate agents all over Florida. I will create articles from your Florida Real Estate experiences and information so that the general public can get current information on what is happening directly from the battlefield. You know how frustrated those of us in the trenches get when we read something in the newspaper that is behind the times and is not really indicative of what is happening in terms of home sales in our area of the United States, but since I am a journalist who watches real estate trends nationwide and even internationally, in addition to being a real estate agent, I am intrigued by the market cycle. And even more, I, and my readers (i.e. potential buyers) want to hear what you have to say about your market. But please, please, let's keep it genuine and honorable. What are the genuine experiences you are now going through, good and/or bad in your market.
Reporters can't really operate on conjecture, though I have to admit they do now more so than in the past. (And I can speak as one who knows because I was a television, radio and newspaper reporter for years. In fact, I went to school at one of the most highly regarded Journalism schools in the nation at the University of Missouri-Columbia.) Still, generally speaking, journalists for major media outlets have to rely on numbers; and numbers are based on previous occurrences which have to be compiled, then analyzed, and that takes time.
The bad news for people who rely on that is they are reading old news and making decisions based on old news. The most savvy investors and buyers are those making their real estate investments based on current news that they acquire by working with honorable, intuitive, full-time agents who are most focused on long-term trust of clients than making a quick commission. These are the folks who know what is going on. Media people aren't the ones taking the clients out. They don't know what is happening in the present, except for what they hear. And in that regard, the most vocal public opinionators (love making up words) in newspaper blogs are the negative, bitter folks; the ones who sometimes shoot themselves in the foot and create a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The people who want to tell what is happening when things are improving are like the appraisers who are running scared; the appraisers who believe a property is worth more than for what they are appraising it, but number one, they don't want to be criticized for being too optimistic, and number two, they have to go with those closed sales, even if they know other properties will be closing soon at more than adequate numbers.
Florida Real Estate Agents and consumers have been through the grinder over the past four to five years, and no matter what we as "Sunshine State" professionals know or think we know, the bottom line is that recovery in any kind of a business -- whether it be the stock market or the price of tulip bulbs -- relies on public perception. When we are all running scared, SCARED rules. When we believe prosperity is just around the corner, it is. Sometimes there are back trends, but backward trends always lead to forward trends.
Thankfully at least in the case of the Southwest Florida corridor, things are showing a marked improvement, even in markets such as Cape Coral, Florida and Ft. Myers, Florida which at various times have been mentioned in conjunction with such areas as Stockton, California for dubious top honors in leading the foreclosure market.
My main frustration right now is that the people who, of course, are leading our stilted recovery and taking advantage or our deals for the most part are the well-heeled investor or the international investor. Trust me, I love the investor who is buying multiple properties from me. And I seek out the international investor. In fact I even participated in a World Property Show in London, England; and I was a Realtor of choice for many of those on Wall Street. Investors are my bread and butter. But there's a big part of me that really wants the person who dreams of someday having a special vacation home in Florida (and perhaps use it to make some extra vacation rental money on the side) to realize that this is the time to see if that dream can be made a reality. Those are the folks who, in terms of Naples homes and condos, at least, find themselves the most quickly priced out of the market.
Please, please, please, to those folks, put fear side and make this your time! Don't wait for "woulda, coulda , shoulda!" I do have to say that two of my most fulfilling sales of recent months have been to educators who never dreamed they would ever in their lives again have the chance to buy in Naples!
For information on Naples area properties, please feel free to contact me as email@example.com. Media members may contact me at the same email address.
Other of Marlene Graham's sites include:
(Buy Naples Foreclosures) BuyNaplesForeclosures.com
(Naples Florida Life and Real Estate Blog) NaplesRealEstateReport.com
(Bonita Springs, Florida, Real Estate and Homes Site) BonitaTouristCenter.com
(Estero Florida Tourist and Visitor Site) EsteroTouristCenter.com
(Naples Florida Real Estate and Homes site) NaplesAgents.com
(Tongue and Cheek but all true!) MostInterestingWomanInTheWorld.com
(Pine Island, Florida) PineIslandTouristCenter.com
(Travel The States) TravelTheStates.com
(Real Estate Agent Referral site) RealEstateAgentReferrals.com
(Micanopy Florida site) MicanopyFlorida.com
(Naples Florida Listing Book, a site for information on signing up to search real estate like an agent)
Also for you House Hunters fans! I've been on an episode of House Hunters and I can tell you what that is all about! You can also follow me on Twitter as NaplesRealtyGal and write to me as @NaplesRealtyGal. I finally set up my Tweet Deck and I am doing my best to follow it, but if for some reason I don't respond, give me an email shout.