I have a lot to go over with you this month – a new tool for you that you’ll find very useful, what I learned in Phoenix at the real estate conference I attended, what I learned from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing training I completed (including its application to selling any home, condo or townhouse) – but first let’s take a look at where our local market currently stands.

July sales typically are lower than June sales and in most cases noticeably lower. In fact, since 2007 the drop from June to July was seen every year until this year. Last month the strong trend in sales continued with July not only increasing from June but also coming in as the 3rd highest month of sales since 2006.

Pinellas County Residential real estate sales chart Jan 2007 thru Jul 2013

This was not the only positive note last month.  As I’ve been writing, we’ve been having a severe lack of inventory which is causing a more difficult market for buyers (less available, nice properties selling very quickly, competing buyers, etc.) and I mentioned that this should start slowing improving.  Well last month we saw a slight increase again in properties coming on the market and an increase in overall properties for sale.  This did not change the overall month’s inventory statistic which is still very, very low (just barely above 3 months) – but it is an improvement in a certain way and once we can get enough properties on the market to feed the strong buyer demand and get our month’s inventory up to at least 4 or even 5 we’ll again be approaching a more balanced market (hint, hint for any sellers who are wondering if they should sell now).

Pinellas County Residential real estate inventory chart Jan 2007 thru Jul 2013

Information for charts above was taken from PRO/Suncoast MLS from Jan 2007 thru May 2011 & from the MFRMLS for May 2011 thru July 2013. This information may or may not include all listed expired, withdrawn, pending or sold properties of one or more members of the My Florida Regional Multiple Listing Service.

A New Information Tool for You

One of the most valuable things you can get when dealing with the buying or selling of real estate is up-to-date, accurate information.  Any professional investor will tell you that they rely on this in making their decisions.

One reason I write these newsletters each month is provide you with an overview of our local market and give you 2 key statistics so you can see current conditions and trends.

Now I’m able to provide you with an even more informative report in addition to the monthly newsletter that will let you see what is going on in a specific neighborhood or zip code, or even in relation to your property’s specific address, with updates every 2 weeks.

This is called a market snapshot report which will show you the average number of days that properties in that area take to sell, the median sold price in that area, the difference between the list price and the selling price, the change in number of homes for sale – AND will also show you on a map and in a list with details all of the properties currently for sale in that area in addition to the ones that have recently sold.

I put a post on my other site so you can see what one of these Market Snapshots look like as well as the simple form you need to fill out to start receiving one.  Just click this link to see it.  It will only take you a few minutes to see what this is all about and I think you’ll like the features and the information it will provide you.

Properly Marketing Homes and Condos to Sell

I have a lot of experience in helping my clients sell their homes, condos and townhouses including luxury homes and condos but decided a while ago to get additional training for the marketing of luxury homes and condo.  I completed the training last month and have to say it was some of the best training I’ve done so far.

It was very service-oriented training and covered the unique situations that arise with marketing luxury properties as opposed to non-luxury properties.

But it went way beyond what I had expected.

I learned about how to market properties in a way that most other Realtors don’t do and saw examples of this applied to homes that had been listed for very long times with several price adjustments which then sold very quickly and at a higher price once the correct marketing was done.  Luxury properties and the people who buy and sell them are different in some ways from typical real estate properties, buyers and sellers and so have to be handled correctly for this segment of the market.  When it is not done correctly it can be a long and painful experience which it does not have to be.

A bonus from doing this training was that there are certain aspects of the marketing technology which can also be applied to homes or condos in any price range to help them sell faster and for a better price.  You may have heard that the only thing that will determine whether your home or condo will sell is its price.  Price is an important factor but how the house shows and the way it is marketed are also very important factors in how long it will take to sell and what price it will ultimately sell for.  When listing your home you need to make sure all 3 factors are handled correctly to get the best result.

One of the most important things you need to know as a seller or a buyer is how the market is doing in the specific area in which you are looking to buy or sell.  This is a mistake many buyers or sellers make and can lead to decisions that aren’t smart.

For example, just today I received a call from a client who has been wanting to sell their townhome but wants to be able to sell at the right time to get the price they want.  They heard from someone they know that they just sold their home very quickly and at a price they want to sell at which was higher than their Realtor had recommended.  They thought that this meant they might be missing the ‘right time’ to sell their townhouse and called me about this.

I explained that the overall market is doing very well but that we need to see how it is doing in their community.  When I checked in the MLS I could see that there was improvement in prices since we had last talked but that they would not be able to get the price they wanted yet and so in their community it was not the right time for them even though it was the right time for their friend.  “How is the market doing?” is not the right question to be asking – the right question is “How is the market doing in my city/area/community?”.  This is probably one of the most important things I can impart to you now.

I’ll give you some updates on this in the coming months on results my clients are getting after applying what I’ve learned, but if you or someone you know is currently in a situation where you need or want to sell and would like to find out more about what can be done for you, or if you have been unsuccessful in selling and want to try some ‘outside the box’ marketing – please contact me right away.

[Don’t think I’m only doing luxury properties now – I’m still doing regular sales and short sales and in fact just got a client to move from another Realtor who had a contract on his short sale property since January and never got an answer from the bank and I listed it for him last month and received an email from his bank this week that we would have an answer by next week.]

Inside Skinny on Real Estate from Phoenix

I spent 4 days in Phoenix last month at a real estate conference with some of the top Realtors from around the country and besides being inspired and moved by many of the speakers I learned a lot that will help both my buyer and seller clients.

This was presented by the same company that provided the Certified Distressed Property Expert training I did last year and besides the fact that they only do very high quality work, they also make sure to focus on the fact that the real estate business is primarily about helping people.

I learned a lot of ways to be even more effective for my clients and also got a great deal of information about where the market is headed.  For one thing, banks are starting to become a little more difficult in dealing with short sales.  As they are getting near the completion of fulfilling their obligations of their settlements with the government over their past handling of foreclosures and since property values are rising, they are starting to look at foreclosures as nearly as acceptable as short sales when it comes to their bottom line.  As a result, more agents are running into increasing difficulty in getting their short sales approved.  There are still ways to get around this but it is something for you to be aware of especially if you or someone you know has been hesitating on pursuing a short sale solution.  (And don’t forget the new law that went into effect in Florida that will speed up the foreclosure process.)

I also learned a very effective way for a buyer to have their offer accepted when there are other competing offers on the same property.  I’m not sharing this one but it is definitely a great way to ‘win’ in this type of situation.


I’m going to end off now so this doesn’t get too horribly long but I wanted you to know some of the highlights of this last month and that I’m in an even better position than ever to really help you with your real estate needs.