Florida Home Sales: Buyers can’t take their time anymore

Prospective homebuyers used to go slow, considering the size of the investment they were making. They wouldn’t sign a contract until they visited the home two or three times, chatted to neighbours and checked with local police to make sure the area was safe.

Who has time for that these days? …….. Hardly anyone.
The housing market has soared past recovery and is bearing down on chaos. Buyers in control during the bust now are on the defensive, racing from home to home and making offers on the spot before somebody else swoops in with a better deal.

The insanity has even created a new sales category of sorts: Flash sales. It’s a home that gets listed in the morning, and is under contract by nightfall.

“We’re literally running to houses and as soon as you get there, there are three other people,” said Terry Story of Coldwell Banker in Boca Raton. “Buyers are very anxious to get something quickly.”

The flash sales are becoming more common, practically out of necessity.

Pembroke Pines resident Angela Medina and her husband were driving north to look at two homes in Palm Beach County when her smartphone buzzed with a text alert about a three-bedroom home that had just been listed in Palm Beach Gardens.

The couple toured it, made an offer and signed the contract, all within 24 hours.

“From the time it hit my phone to the time we saw it, maybe an hour passed,” said Medina, 36. “You’ve got to be proactive.”

The sale of the Medina’s own four-bedroom Pines property went the same way. It was listed and under contract in one day. Both deals are scheduled to close July 1.

Stiff competition from investors and a shortage of properties for sale have cut the number of days a home stays on the market.

In April, the typical single-family home in Palm Beach County went under contract in 78 days, down from 90 a year ago, according to the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches.
Broward County’s days on market declined to 34 from 45 during the same period, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors said.

Real estate agents say many other attractive homes are getting snapped up sooner than that. Not every quick sale happens overnight, but in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties, 1,503 homes have gone under contract within two weeks during April, a 149 % increase from a year earlier, according to the Redfin real estate brokerage.

From March to April, the tri-county region had a 45 % increase in contracts within two weeks, the highest percentage of Redfin’s 22 markets nationwide. Overbuilding, speculation and easy financing combined to cause the housing crash. The recovery has been fueled by investors paying cash, a dwindling inventory and historically low mortgage rates in the 3 % range.

In the past week, rates have inched up to over 4 %, which will cause even more people to jump into the market, said Jim Heidisch, broker at Campbell & Rosemurgy in Deerfield Beach. “There’s a sense of urgency,” he said. “I always tell people, ‘You’re not buying a house, you’re buying money, and you want to get the cheapest rate you can.'”

Robyn Jackson, Redfin’s South Florida area manager, said the increase in quick home sales is not just a function of the market. The text alerts and other technology have empowered buyers, giving them access to listings and other details that used to be available only through a real estate agent.

Most buyers Jackson works with have found homes they want to see even before they meet with her.

“With all the information out there, we have more educated, savvy buyers today,” Jackson said.

Miami one of top global cities for prime property growth

The average price of luxury homes in the world’s key cities fell by 0.4% in the first quarter of 2013 although the annual rate remained positive at 3.6%.

Cities in Asia, North America and the Middle East continue to dominate the top half of the results table while seven of the bottom ten rankings are occupied by European cities.

On a regional basis, cities in the Middle East recorded average annual price growth of 11% while Europe was the weakest performing region with prime prices falling on average by 2.3%.

A typical prime property is now worth 21.3% more than it was in the second quarter of 2009 when the Prime Global Cities Index hit its post-Lehman low.
Overall eight cities recorded double digit price growth in the year to March. Jakarta, Bangkok and Miami topped the table this quarter, recording annual price growth of 38.1%, 26.1% and 21.1% respectively.

The measures aimed at cooling residential price growth in Jakarta and Bangkok have been less stringent than those applied across many neighbouring Asian cities, allowing new middle class wealth to fuel demand and push prime prices higher.
In Miami’s case, Latin American wealth is a key driver of the luxury market, with the flow of capital from Brazil, Venezuela and Argentina proving influential.

Cities in Asia, North America and the Middle East continue to dominate the top half of the results table while seven of the bottom ten rankings are occupied by European cities.

In Europe, however, the price of luxury homes in Monaco increased by 10% in the first three months of 2013 as international interest swelled and the supply of apartments, particularly above €10 million, proved limited.

Tokyo, recording a 17.9% fall in prime prices, was the weakest performing city in the year to March 2012. However, after nearly 15 years of deflation, the Bank of Japan has announced radical monetary easing measures, and as a result business sentiment as well as demand for prime property is now strengthening.

Knight Frank points out that unlike Japan, the governments of China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore face the opposite challenge; trying to restrain growth. ‘Asia’s policy makers are not only introducing more lending restrictions, taxes and regulations, but the strength of these measures has been stepped up in recent months,’ said Kate Everett-Allen, head of international residential research.

‘In each year since 2009, our Prime Global Cities Index, has repeatedly recorded its weakest rate of growth in the first quarter of the year,’ she explained.

‘As a result, we expect stronger growth to emerge in the second quarter as buyers continue to search for luxury bricks and mortar as a way of sheltering their assets from the Eurozone’s continuing turmoil and the fragile global economy,’ she added.

Central Florida homes fly off the market

Buying a house has become a race to get the keys. Homes are flying off the market in Central Florida; some in a matter of hours.

Nationwide, homes sold faster last month then in any February since 2007. It’s a good sign for the housing market.

Buyers no longer have the option of “sleeping on it.” A lot of the time by the next day the house is already bought.

If you’re looking for a home or condo between $100,000 and $200,000, you’re in the danger zone.

Realtors are seeing buyers out bid by investors and properties are being listed and sold within a matter of hours.

According to the US National Association of Realtors, cash buyers accounted for 28 % of existing home buyers in January.

Realtors say the best advice for buyers is to get your ducks in row before you start to look, so you can even get in the race. This means buyers need to Pre-qualify, which doesn’t cost anything and ensures when they go in to make an offer on a home they have a pre-authorization and pre-approval from the lender, resulting in being a much more powerful buyer.

Some of the frenzy comes from a lack of inventory.
The economy is improving and buyers are ready, but sellers are waiting for prices to rebound more.

In fact, nationwide the number of homes for sale has dropped, but the number of days the homes out there are on the market is at a record high. The average time to sell is now just two weeks.

Good news for Florida home buyers as sales are up in 2nd quarter of 2011

Florida’s condo and house prices rose 1 percent in the 2nd quarter of 2011, a double increase compared to the same period last year according the stats from Florida Realtors.

52,451 homes were sold across the state, compared to 51,973 for same period the year before.

Statewide sales of existing condos in the second quarter rose 14 percent compared to the same period a year ago.

Investments

For investment properties, across the state home and condo sales in the second quarter also increased over 1Q 2011’s sales figures, according to Florida Realtors’ records. For 2Q 2011, statewide sales of existing homes rose 17.7 percent over the previous quarter’s activity; statewide existing condo sales increased 8.1 percent over the 1Q 2011 level.

Things Home buyers do that turn sellers Off

On today’s market, every savvy seller wants to know what turns buyers off, so they can get their homes sold as quickly as possible, for as much as possible.
But buyers, take note – there is a minefield of seller turn-offs you can trigger that hold the potential to keep you from getting the home you want at the best price and terms, or to unnecessarily complicate dealings with your home’s seller.
Lest you think all of today’s sellers are under the gun and will just put up with whatever behavior buyers dish out, be aware that there are still many multiple offer situations in which buyers have to compete with each other to get a home – buyers who trigger these turnoffs tend to lose in those scenarios. Also, avoiding these seller turnoffs can create a transactional environment of cooperation and avoid things turning adversarial. That, in turn, can empower you to score a better price, get extra items you want thrown into the deal, and even negotiate more flexibility around your escrow and move-in timelines – all perks that can make your life easier and your budget go further.

For sellers, these turnoffs pose the potential of irritating you out of an otherwise good deal – maybe even the only deal you have!

Here’s a few of the most common buyer-perpetuated seller turnoffs, with tips for sellers on how to keep an emotional (and economic) even keel, even if your home’s buyer makes some of these waves:

1. Trash-talking. Trash-talkers are the home buyers who think they’re going to negotiate the list price down by slamming the house, telling the sellers how little it is really worth, how the house across the street sold for nothing, why the school on the corner should make them desperate to give the place away, etc. This strategy never works; in fact, when you attack a seller and their home, you only cause them to be defensive, and think up all the reasons that (a) their home is not what you say it is, and (b) they shouldn’t sell their home to you!

Sometimes this happens with buyers who actually love a house and just walk around it fantasizing about all the ways they would customize it to their tastes while a seller is there.

Sellers: avoid being at home while your home is being shown.
Buyers: save your commentary for your agent; if you do encounter the seller in person keep your conversation respectful and avoid critiquing the house or the list price.

2. Being unqualified for mortgage financing. When a seller signs a buyer’s offer, most often the seller agrees to effectively pull the home off the market, forgoing other buyers who might be interested. As such, the only thing worse than getting no offers on your home is getting an offer, getting into contract, then having the whole thing fall apart when the buyer’s loan falls through – especially if that could have been predicted or avoided up front.

Sellers: Work with your agent to vet your home’s buyers’ qualifications, including their loan approval, down payment and earnest money deposit – before you sign a contract. It’s not overkill for your agent to call the buyers’ mortgage pro before you sign the contract and get a level of comfort for how robust their qualifications are.

Buyers: Get pre-approved. Seriously. And make sure that you don’t buy a car, quit your job, deposit lottery winnings or do any other financial twitchery between the time you get loan approval and the time you close escrow on your home.

3. Making unjustified lowball offers. No one likes to feel like they are being taken advantage of. And sellers generally know the ballpark amount that their home is worth, as well as what they need to sell it for to get their mortgage paid off. Yes – the price you pay for a home should be driven by its fair market value, rather than the seller’s financial needs, and deals are more available in a market like the current one, in which supply so vastly outpaces demand. But just throwing ultra-lowball offers out at sellers hoping one will hit the spot is not generally a successful strategy, especially if you really, really want a given property.

Sellers: Don’t get overly emotional about receiving a lowball offer; counter at the price you and your agent decide makes sense based on the total circumstances, including your motivation level, recent comps and the interest/activity level your listing is receiving.

Buyers: Work through the similar, nearby homes that have recently sold (a/k/a comparables) before you make an offer to factor the home’s fair market value into your offer price – also factor in how much you want the place, too.
Don’t be amazed if you make an offer far below asking, and don’t get a response.

4. Renegotiating mid-stream. Sellers plan their finances, moves and – to some extent – their lives around the purchase price a buyer agrees to pay for their home. If you get into contract to buy a home, find out during inspections that costly repairs need to be made, then propose a lower sale price, repair credit or even actual repairs to the seller, that’s sensible and fair.

But if you were aware that the property needed a lot of work before you made an offer on it, then you come back asking for worth of credit or price reductions midstream, expect the seller to cry foul. And holding the seller up two weeks into the transaction because you caught a case of buyer’s remorse? Not cool, and not likely to foster the spirit of cooperation you may need to get your deal closed.
Sellers: avoid mid-stream price renegotiations by having a full set of inspection reports and repair bids at hand when you list your home.

Buyers: try to avoid renegotiating the entire deal unless you get some major surprises at your inspections or inflating small repairs to try to justify a major price cut.

5. Misleading or setting the seller up. Being misled by listing photos or very fluffy property descriptions was high on the list. The same goes for sellers.Offering way over asking with the plan to hammer the seller for a reduction when the house doesn’t appraise at the purchase price? #LAME Making an as-is offer planning the whole time to come back and ask for every penny ante repair called out by the inspectors? Lame squared.

Sellers: If you get multiple offers and are tempted to take a sky-high one or one that claims to be all cash, consider requesting proof that the buyer has sufficient funds to make up the difference between what you think the home will appraise for and the actual sale price, and statements showing the cash truly exists.
Buyers: You have to tell the seller exactly what your top dollar is, but making offers with terms designed to intentionally mislead is really, really bad form – and can result in losing the home entirely if and when your bluff gets called.