I receive comments on a regular basis on my weekly column. I appreciate every one of them. This column now goes out to over 7000 subscribers, a large portion of which are fellow real estate professionals. Most of my comments come from Northerners looking for the pulse on what’s going on in the local market.
“The local market”, we speak of it like it has a collective order or brain; perhaps it does, but I always contend that if you are buying a house, you are buying a house not a market. If some one asks me, “How’s the market?”, I have difficulty giving a short answer. In every buyers market there is a good opportunity for a seller, and certainly the reverse is also true:
“Have we bottomed out on prices?” In general, yes, but there are some properties that have not. The key to power in this market is total immersion from you and your agent.
“The most common question I get is, “Should I buy now or wait longer?” My answer is this: “You should be looking for what you want now. If you find it, negotiate the best deal you can. If you are happy with the deal: buy. Inventories are being depleted; your choices will start to diminish. If you cannot find the deal on the home you want, you need to determine, with the help of a local expert, if what you are looking for is even feasible; for example a $200,000 home on the beach (a common request) and what the chances are you will be able to find it. (rather slim)
The ability to secure financing along with your home may determine whether you buy now or later. Interest rates are as low as 4%, but you may have difficulty qualifying for such a loan now, but perhaps as your personal financial picture improves in time you can get the loan. The problem with this strategy may be that by the time that happens, your competition will have improved their lot as well and prices will be driven up by the increased demand.
My advice is always be looking and educating yourself on what is out there. I see bargains in every market segment, but it takes time, work, and persistence.
Some things to look at:
Development Opportunity on Fort Myers Beach. Nils and I looked at four duplex lots on Estero Boulevard on Friday. Three of the lots had income producing property on them. The purchaser had plans to build new duplexes on them; he already has the design. But this is not the time to build. Are these lots a good buy? Maybe. The strategy will be to buy them now, hold for three to five years, and then build the duplexes. The rental market on Fort Myers Beach, by the way is very strong.
Fort Myers Beach, triplex, I love this home and in fact owned it for a few years before we sold it in 1999. This home is on the north end of the island and is an REO. It sits on a canal by Moss Marina and is within walking distance of the beach and many attractions. It is being sold at a price that is more that $300,000 less than the last sale price sold. It needs some TLC, but for those of you that want a beach property that can be a rental as well I think you need to look at 85o Third Street it has two small apartments and very comfortable home on the second floor.
Oasis Condominium in Downtown Fort Myers. This project is under new management/ownership and will be re-released soon with new prices. I think there will be an opportunity to make some excellent buys here. Related Group developed it, BBL of Florida built it.
Downtown High Rises. The prices are now right and inventory here is getting depleted as well. There are short sales, renovated homes and condos as low as $115,000! This is for waterfront condos!
Foreclosed Homes. Market America Realty may be one of the largest REO/foreclosures listing agencies in Fort Myers. We have close to 300 homes in our pipeline over 200 now listed. When doing a search for a foreclosed home in Ft. Myers be sure to stay in your price range.
Orlando Market Many of our buyers like the recreational facilities and the strong rental market in Orlando. Chris Sterns, tells me they the inventory turns in Orlando are faster than here in Fort Myers. Lots of cash buyers, more European buyers, the deals move fast and our REO’s up there sell at above ask prices. Great market for finding foreclosed homes.
“In my role as a broker I run what I would call a boutique real estate agency and I run my new franchise, Engel and Voelkers Fort Myers River District – high end residential homes. I am a motivator, a canceler of energy, and sometime coach.”