Consumer Sentiment on the Rise in Florida


Welcome to FloridaThe Bureau of Economic Research at the University of Florida announced that the consumer sentiment index for the state’s residents rose another two points to 84, hitting a post recession high.

Consumer’s expectations of U.S. economic conditions over the next year and the next five years rose. Perceptions as to whether it is a good time to buy big ticket items maintained a post-recession high of 94. The gain in confidence was more broad-based than in previous months.

“We appear to be gaining some traction among consumers here in Florida,” said Chris McCarty, the Survey Director. “The last time Florida consumers were this confident was over seven years ago in April 2007, prior to the recession, when the housing market was beginning to unravel. Prior to that the index peaked at 98 in January 2004. Overall we are quite a bit behind where we would typically be this far out from the end of a recession, but we had a lot further to go in this recovery.”Rising Expectations2

The employment situation has improved slightly in the Sunshine State, with unemployment declining .1 percent to 6.1 percent. Housing prices were up again in June to $185,000 for the median price of a single family home. There are some signs that housing gains may slow as both housing starts and sale of existing homes slowed in adjacent southern states. Economists are holding judgment until further data has been compiled to see if the decline part of a trend.

“Given the current trends here in Florida our expectation is that consumer sentiment will continue to rise slightly in the short run,” said McCarty. “While an index of 84 is not historically high, it does reflect a far more optimistic consumer than we have seen over the past year. Most of the potential effects of confidence are external to the state”.

“These include the inevitable rise in short term interest rates that the Federal Reserve will implement as early as this fall, the effect on consumers from escalation of conflict in the Middle East and Ukraine, and a significant correction in the stock market which is a topic of discussion among economic pundits.”

Posted By Derek Templeton

Article printed from DSNews:

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Analysts See Reasons for Housing Optimism

Even though the first half of 2014 didn’t live up to the hope and hype, industry insiders are still calling for better days in the housing market for the rest of this year. On Friday, Redfin released its latest market summary, which sees the combination of sales, prices, foot traffic, and inventory as positive signs heading into the fall.

“After an abysmal first quarter that drove a disappointing first half, housing will be playing catch-up for the year,” said Nela Richardson, Redfin’s chief economist. “Though it won’t be a seamless transition, we believe the housing market is positioning itself for a stronger finish in the second half of the year.”

Granted, you may have heard the same kinds of optimism in January. The first quarter of 2014 was supposed to show a steady climb in all areas of housing, but hopes were battered by harsh winter weather, a drop in residential construction starts, and a shortage of qualified construction workers.

Things also were supposed to pick up in the second quarter—and they did, but only enough, by most accounts, to stanch the disappointing Q1 numbers.

But entering quarters three and four, Richardson is hanging her predictions on four key points.

First, home sales are catching up to 2013′s highs, which were the strongest since the recession. June sales (114,240) were only shy by 2.5 percent from last June’s, and sales were up year-over-year in eight of 30 metro markets, including Atlanta, Charlotte, and Oakland, each of which were up more than 8 percent, Richardson said.

Second, foot traffic is on the rise. According to Redfin, the number of customers going on tours with the company’s agents in June was up 27.1 percent from a year ago. “Tour growth is bucking seasonality trends, which tend to peak in May,” Richardson said.

Whether this trend will translate into stronger sales numbers hinges on whether mortgage supply from banks can meet the increase in demand or whether buyers with large amounts of cash on hand will continue to dominate the market, she said. Cash deals reached their peak in 2011 and have been declining steadily since, but the percentage of cash deals remains higher than the norm and is especially popular forlower-cost homes.

Third, price growth is becoming more sustainable. Even though the median sales price in urban markets topped $300,000 in June, price growth reached a two-year low of 6.4 percent, Richardson said. The stability is most welcome. “Prices over the past three years have been an expensive roller coaster for both buyers and sellers,” she said.

According to Redfin, the fluctuation between 2011 and 2012 was depreciation followed by double-digit growth, and price growth through 2013 averaged 14 percent. “In June, the median sales price grew at half that rate, much more in line with a sustainable rate that won’t have the market panting to keep up,” Richardson said.

Lastly, housing inventory is returning, albeit slowly. Between 2009 and 2012, the number of homes for sale plunged 44 percent, bottoming at 411,555 homes at the end of 2012, according to Redfin. At its highpoint in 2013, inventory rose to just 477,000 homes for sale and then dropped to 411,761 by year’s end. Last month, and for a second month in a row, the number of homes for sale was above 500,000, which was up 8 percent from this time last year.

The biggest year-over-year increases in homes for sale were in Riverside-San Bernardino and Orange County, California, and Phoenix, where figures were up at least 24 percent for all areas.

“Metro markets continue to get a boost from pent-up demand caused by the low inventory that plagued housing for the past two years,” Richardson said. “The second half will not be without its wobbles. But the housing market can maneuver around the juggernaut of subpar long-term economic fundamentals. Housing is now edging back to normal.”

Author: Scott Morgan DS News
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Is It Legal for Real Estate Investors to Pay Referral Fees?


Ask the Pig

Operating as a real estate professional without a license is a 3rd degree felony in my home state (Florida) and is considered a serious offense in most states.  Check out this brief video where Matt shares how you can legally and ethically compensate someone who has brought you a real estate deal, without ending up in jail.

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Home Flippers See Impressive Gains in 2013

house-flippersHome flippers reported more gains in 2013 than in any year on record, according to national real estate brokerage Redfin [1]. The average home flipped last year was sold for $90,200 more than it was purchased, and in 11 of the 30 markets Redfin analyzed [2], flippers received gains of more than $100,000 per house. Redfin considers flipping the act of purchasing and then reselling a home within 12 months.

Seven of those 11 markets were located in California with San Francisco topping the list. In San Francisco, the average gain from a home flipped was $194,600. Long Island, New York, and San Jose, California, ranked second and third with gains of $152,500 and $152,000, respectively.

On a more micro level, Redfin found homes flipped in nine neighborhoods broke $200,000 in gains in 2013. In the Petworth neighborhood of Washington, D.C., the average home flipped brought a gain of $312,400. In the Beaumont neighborhood of Portland, the average gain on a flipped home was $285,600.

On the other hand, homes flipped in Las Vegas had average gains of $50,200, and homes flipped in Atlanta had average gains of $53,000.

“It’s worth noting that gains are not profits,” Redfin stated in its report. Home flippers often complete repairs and improvements before reselling homes, and these projects vary widely in price.

While home flippers experienced greater gains in 2013 than in years prior, the actual number of homes flipped was smaller last year than in 2012. In Redfin markets, a total of 67,000 homes were flipped last year, and the number is expected to decline to about 58,500 this year. This is down from 75,000 in 2012 and from a peak of 101,800 in 2005.Gains

However, as the number of homes flipped declined, the rate of homes flipped for more than their purchase price increased. Last year, 77 percent of homes flipped recorded gains. In 2008, it was close to the reverse, according to Redfin.

Another trend Redfin pointed out is a heightened number of homes flipped by banks instead of individuals since the housing crisis. After a low of 6.5 percent in 2006, bank-flipped homes shot up to 72.2 percent of flipped homes in 2008.

By 2013, the share had fallen to 35.2 percent, but Redfin has already noted increased activity from banks so far this year.

Redfin also noted increasing flipping activity in a few markets, in particular, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Philadelphia.

Posted By Krista Franks Brock Daily Dose,Headlines,Market Studies,News  Article printed from DSNews:

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7 Keys to Selling Your “Fix & Flip” in Less than 7 Days!



I admit that I am not an expert at a lot of things.  Rather than being a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none, I decided long ago to be a master of a few things, while remaining downright awful at pretty much everything else.  Some of my shortcomings include singing, dancing, drawing, or fixing anything that breaks.  However, one thing that I have absolutely mastered is the art of selling my renovation properties QUICKLY and for TOP DOLLAR.

After a dozen years investing in real estate, my passion for renovating ugly and distressed homes burns brighter than ever.  From the very start, I was obsessed with finding the perfect balance of spending enough money in just the right places to maximize profits, while at the same time selling properties in record time.  The results have been nothing short of remarkable.  Over the last 5 years, my fix & flip properties have averaged less than 7 days on the market, while boasting an average profit of over $25,000 per flip.

Do you want to experience the same results?  Then check out my seven secrets to flipping success below.

1. RUN YOUR NUMBERS…CORRECTLY! – The most important part of any renovation project is the deal analysis.  Determining a realistic after repair value, and ACCURATE repair numbers, are imperative to making sure your renovation dream doesn’t quickly spiral into a nightmare.

Typically when I see a rehab property sitting on the market for a long time, it’s because the investor has cornered his or herself into a price that isn’t realistic.  Even though the market is clearly telling them that their asking price is too high, they can’t drop the price because they will lose money.running-the-numbers-logo01

Why are they in this unenviable position? It’s usually the result of the investor paying too much for the property because they bought the very first “deal” a Realtor sent them from the MLS, they underestimated the repair costs, or they OVER improved the property to make it look like the Taj Mahal or something they would live in, even though it sits in a low-income neighborhood.

2. STAY IN YOUR AREA’S AFFORDABLE PRICE RANGE – I primarily invest in the 2nd poorest county in my state (Escambia County, Florida), and even though we have beautiful beaches and a wonderful climate, our median household income is ridiculously low.  So, I purchase most of my renovations in the price range where nearly EVERYONE in the area can afford it.

It you get lured into the luxury deals because of the potential for higher profits, you may up seeing those “profits” burned up in the form of holding costs. It only stands to reason that with fewer buyers in that price range, it will take longer for those homes to sell, and so the higher DOM (days on market) equates to more interest, property taxes, utilities, and more.

3. LIST IT IN THE MLS – This one is an absolute no-brainer to me, but I’m still shocked at the number of investors who try to sell it “FSBO” to “save” a couple thousand dollars.  Time is money in this business, and the longer your money and energy are tied up into one deal, the longer you are missing out on the next deal.

There are 2,000 realtors in my local MLS, and nearly all of them have 5-10 (or hundreds) of potential buyers for my home.  Additionally, our MLS listings are broadcast to major search engines around the world with millions of people searching for properties.  Why would I want to rely on the few people that might drive by my pathetic sign in order to sell the house?

Get your home the most exposure you can possibly get, sell it fast, and move on to the next deal!

4. …WITH A COMPETENT REALTOR – Notice I said with a “competent” Realtor, not a high-octane agent on steroids.  It really doesn’t take a superstar real estate agent to sell a house.  Most “superstars” are “superstars” because they have been in the business a long time, or at great at marketing TO sellers, not necessarily FOR sellers.  A great realtor isn’t going to sell your home any better than a good Realtor (though a bad Realtor can definitely destroy your sale), but the super high producer will oftentimes expect a premium for their services which is unnecessary to pay.

You want a Realtor who can take VERY GOOD pictures, and write a VERY GOOD description, and possibly even throw in a virtual or visual tour.  Beyond that, you don’t need open houses, fancy flyers and brochures, or your own personal property website.  That’s just fluff that makes for a good listing presentation.  99% of home buying is done on the Internet these days, and the property simply needs to have tons of good pictures and a great description that helps tell the property’s “story.”


rehab-rotate15. REHAB IT RIGHT – You’ve probably heard this a hundred times, but the keys to selling homes quickly are the “wet” areas, also known as the kitchens and baths.  Carpet, paint, and landscaping are a no-brainer, and everyone does that, so the renovations that will help you stand out from the competition are kitchens and bathrooms that have some “wow” factor to them.

Even though I stay in the affordable price range with my renovations, I always spend a little extra to make sure “momma” is happy.  While some may consider it a sexist statement, statistics still show that women spend a majority of their time in the kitchen while at home, so we want to make sure she’s comfortable and excited about her workspace.  New appliances in the kitchen, upgraded light fixtures and faucets, as well as a tile backsplash with glass tile inserts are just a few of the upgrades we use.

6. STAGE IT! – For those of you who are members of the Professional Investors Guild, you’ve probably heard me go on and on about my love affair with staging.  I firmly believe that it’s the “secret sauce” to selling my homes quickly and for top dollar.

Going back to my priority of having “really good pictures” on the MLS listing, staging falls right in line with that recommendation.  You can have a beautiful room with brand new carpet, fresh paint, new light fixtures, and brand new closet doors, but when you take a picture of an empty room, it just looks like a big hollow box.home-staging

Selling homes is just as much about appealing to the buyer’s emotions as it is to their pocket book.  Potential buyers have to be able to imagine living there, and raising their family there, which is difficult to do in an empty, echo chamber.  Staging might cost a little bit more money (typically 1-1.5% of the sales price), but it’s worth every penny!

7. DON’T LIST IT UNTIL EVERYTHING IS DONE! – Some real estate investors (especially new ones) can get a little anxious when it comes to listing the property, and end up putting it on the market too soon.  It’s usually because they are getting nervous about the money they have invested, or the hard money payments that keep rolling around each month, and so they rush the property on the market before it’s truly ready.

If buyers had vision, there would be no reason to renovate homes.  We could just put it up for sale as a piece of junk, and say “Home will be renovated to buyer’s exact specifications”.  It works in new construction because they walk through a model home, but in renovations they have to see past the awful mess in front of them to see what it might become, and very few can truly do it.  That’s why it’s so important to make sure all renovations are complete before allowing buyers to walk through.

Additionally, when you list a new property on the market, you typically get a burst of showings right at the beginning.  There’s usually a bit of “pent up demand” for buyers looking in a certain price range, but that haven’t found the right home yet.  My renovations oftentimes receive a contract at some point in the first few days from this “pent up demand”, usually from the 1st or 2nd buyer who walks through.  This is why it’s so critical that all the repairs be completely done before the doors are opened, so that there are no potential objections from these ready and willing buyers.

Well, there you have it!  While it might not be an exhaustive list, these are 7 of the most important keys to selling your renovation homes in under a week.  Can you think of any tips that I missed?  Share your thoughts in the comment section below…and let’s all grow together!



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