In this month’s newsletter, after reviewing the market conditions and statistics, I thought I’d list the top 3 items that make a property one that has a good chance to sell quickly and for a good price.  I’ll also let you know about a new feature on one of my sites that I think you’ll really like.

Market conditions in July did not change much – sales were very strong and inventory falls again.  Sales in July were about 16% higher than last July, over 60% higher than July 2010, was the highest July in the last 6 years and makes the 7th straight month in 2012 with sales higher than the same month in the previous 5 years.  When you see the chart below you’ll see what I mean. (You can see the chart full sized by clicking it.)

Pinellas County residential real estate sales chart Jan 2007 thru Jul 2012

Information for chart above was taken from PRO/Suncoast MLS from Jan 2007 thru May 2011 & from the MFRMLS for May 2011 thru July 2012.

The inventory level dropped to a new low – as of 8/1/12 there were only 5886 residential properties ( condos, townhouses and single family homes) listed for Pinellas County in our MLS.  To give you some perspective on this, last August 1st the total was 8474 and on January 1st 2011 the total was 11087.   So we are down nearly 50% from last January and over 30% from exactly 1 year ago at this time. Because of this and the continued strong sales, we are still hovering at just a hair over 4 months inventory.

Pinellas County residential real estate inventory chart Jan 2001 thru Jul 2012

Information for chart above was taken from PRO/Suncoast MLS from Jan 2007 thru May 2011 & from the MFRMLS for May 2011 thru July 2012.

If you enjoy seeing these types of statistics charts, you should make sure to check out a post I did earlier this month with a link to a whole bunch of statistics graphs that really show you all the statistics for the real estate market in Florida which will give you an even better understanding of market conditions in the state.

Now I’d like to describe those items that are most important in making a home or condo really sellable.  This is valuable information for sellers but it is also good for buyers to know because this will let you know if a home or condo you have interest in will be more likely to sell quickly and what kind of negotiating room you might have.


This is considered the prime factor in real estate.  A less expensive home in a higher end neighborhood is a better buy than the nicest home in a lower end neighborhood because its value it brought up by the surrounding properties whereas the biggest, nicest home in the community tends to have its value brought down by the surrounding properties.

For sellers, there isn’t much you can do about this but for buyers this is an important factor to consider as it will affect you in the future when you will be selling the property.

For buyers, if you do have a good or unique location, this will give you an advantage and will also help you get a higher price.

For example, I recently worked with a client who was looking at condos on Sand Key.  In some complexes where only a small number of the condos are directly on the beach, those condos are considered a prime location and we found that they did not come up for sale very often.  The one we put an offer in on not only had our offer but another one just before us and this was after the property had only been on the market for 2 days.  This would be considered a unique location because in the buildings in this complex only 1 out of 6 condos on each floor has this location and there are very few of these that have been available in the last 5-6 years.


The condition of the home or condo will determine how quickly it sells and how close the sale price is to the list price (but only if the price is not too far above market value).

After working with hundreds of buyers I can say without any hesitation that homes or condos that show really well and are priced reasonably are the fastest selling properties.  This includes not only updated interiors and well-kept grounds, but well-maintained properties.  A home or condo that has granite countertops and hardwood floors but at the same time has obviously been neglected in other ways (wood rot on the outside, dirt on the ceilings near the A/C grates from old filters, very old roofs or air conditioning systems, etc.) will have a harder time selling because buyers are less likely to buy a home that shows these signs of neglect are a sign that there may be more problems that you don’t see.  I can tell you that a home without as many upgrades but that is immaculately maintained will get a lot of interest.

Sellers often don’t know what they should and shouldn’t do to get their home or condo ready for sale and I usually help my clients with a list of the best, lowest-cost items to work on to get their house in the best condition to sell.  I even wrote a post that links to an article about getting your home or condo ready to sell.


I left this one for last because, even though it is very important, it is not the only item that affect a properties ability to sell quickly and for a good price.

Buyers want to pay the lowest possible price and sellers want to get the highest possible price.  But the optimum price is the one that results in a deal that successfully closes with both the buyer and seller happy with the price.

With inventory being so low, sellers are getting better prices which are closer to the listing price and buyers are willing to pay more although they still do not want to pay more than market value in most cases and still want to feel that they got their property for a good price.

As a buyer, when looking at the price you will need to know what the market value of the property is and should keep in mind that if a property is in a good location and is in very good condition and is priced close to market value – it will likely sell quickly and at close to its list price.  If you don’t recognize this and take too long haggling over price, you may find yourself competing with other buyers and may end up paying more or losing the property to the other buyer.

As a seller, you need to know what a realistic sale price is for your property and not get too greedy or you may find your home or condo languishing on the market for many months.

I saw this firsthand in the last several months with my client who was looking to buy a Clearwater Beach condo.

We were negotiating on 3 condos (not at the same time of course) where the seller was dragging things out trying to get a better price and during that time my client realized that 2 of these condos were less than what he wanted as far as condition and/or location was concerned.  In one of these cases the seller had their agent come back to us after we moved on to say they would now accept our initial offer price – that condo is still on the market a month later.  In fact all 3 of these condos are still on the market.

All the condos we had seen that my client showed interest in but were priced too high or had sellers that were trying to get more than their condo really was worth are still on the market.  The one condo that I mentioned above that was directly on the beach and went under contract in 3 days – the seller came down more in price than all the other ones which are still sitting unsold.  That seller and their agent recognized the value of their unique location but also were reasonable in their negotiations and so that condo sold very quickly and at a good price.

In the current market it is even more important that you have a good Realtor to work with as either a seller or buyer to make sure you find out what a property is worth and how its pricing will affect how quickly it will sell.

New Tool

I’ve put a new tool on the Clearwater Beach Condo Complexes page of my Clearwater Beach Condos for Sale site that I think you’ll like.  This tool will let you see businesses (grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, hospitals etc.) and schools within a 5-7 mile radius of Clearwater Beach plus useful information on the schools and businesses:

Clearwater Beach area school info


Here is a sample of the type of information you get to see on local businesses.

If you like this feature and would like to see it on the pages for other cities and communities, please let me know by clicking on one of the Facebook It buttons at the top of the page:

Have a great summer, stay cool and enjoy yourself, and let me know how I can help you as either a buyer or seller in this interesting market.