Busy Friday on Sanibel Island
Today, it has been a little overcast with a slight drizzle, so the phones, shopping centers, and roadways have been busy. Always happens on a non-beach day – or maybe it came from the announcement last week that Frommer rated the islands as his favorite 2012 vacation destination for 2012.
Nice to have some rain though, the local weatherman reported last night, that southwest Florida has only had 1/100th of an inch all year. We need more!
Resort and Second Home Real Estate Market
As follow-up to SanibelSusan’s attendance earlier this month at the Florida Realtors® Mid-Year Business Meetings, I read an interesting article posted by a colleague also involved in the resort and second home market. It was written last fall by George R. Harvey, Jr., 2011 Vice Chair of the National Association of Realtors® Resort and Second Home Real Estate Committee and owner of The Harvey Team brokerage in Telluride, CO. It is amazing how many similarities our vacation market businesses have. Titled “I Don’t Have to Sell“, it says:
“Quite often when I go on a listing presentation, the seller tells me at the end of the presentation, “Well, I really don’t have to sell”. This is after giving them a thorough market analysis, showing them how many properties compete with their property and how many sales have happened in the last 12 to 15 months in their category. Sometimes I’ll take them out to look at several of the most similar properties to their property in order to give them an idea of what their competition is. Many times, of course, they say, “My property is better.” As you might guess, most sellers take that position. When I give the seller the market analysis, the same exact analysis that every buyer/broker is going to give their buyers and that seller says, “I really don’t have to sell,” the first question that enters my mind is, “So why are you putting your property on the market?” It takes a terrific amount of effort on the listing broker’s part for showing appointments, marketing materials, and advertising expense to have a successful sale. And then the seller is going to say, “If I can get my price I might sell my house.” Let me translate what that means. If we get a really wealthy person that will pay cash, close quickly, doesn’t do any market research, and is really stupid, and will just pay whatever the asking price is, I’ll sell my house. What an incredible burden this creates for the listing agent and a setup for disappointment for all parties engaged.
“One of the biggest problems that we have in the Telluride market as well as other markets in the resort and second home niche is sellers still pricing to the peak of 2006, ’07, and ‘08 markets.
“Buyers in general are well informed and have done their homework on the internet and always ask for all the market comps. Sellers often say, “Well my property is special or unique or here’s why I bought it”. All those wonderful things are good points for potential buyers in the future, but every buyer has their own list of dreams and desires and they’re all watching Bloomberg.
”Not only does a property in this market have to be priced competitively, but it needs to be one or two best values in its market category to even get on the show list. It also has to be in great condition, because buyers are now looking for every flaw possible and are making objections for the smallest of items. The end result for sellers that don’t price to the market is following the market all the way down and always being just behind the selling price range rather than just in front of it where they should be. If you are a property owner in a resort or second home market and truly want to sell, ask your listing broker to do a very thorough market analysis and what it will take to be the first one or two properties shown in that market niche. It will greatly improve your odds of making a sale and won’t waste your time and your listing agent’s.”
Selling a Rented Property Can Pose Challenges
SanibelSusan Realty recently listed and successfully quickly sold a home that had a long-time annual tenant. More often than not this scenario comes with some objections from the renter, so I was intrigued to read an article posted this week on Florida Realtors® about the subject:
“Some homeowners turned into reluctant landlords and rented out their homes to earn extra income while the housing market was sluggish. But now some of these homeowners are ready to sell. However, real estate agents often caution clients that are trying to sell a home when a tenant still lives there can be tricky since many renters – who have no financial stake in the matter – aren’t always so eager to help market a home and keep it tidy and neat on their landlord’s behalf.
“Landlords should make a point to clearly communicate their intentions to sell, and not “sneak” the house on the market without telling the tenants first, real estate professionals say. Landlords might want to offer a concession on the rent to tenants in exchange for them keeping the home in clean, good condition while it’s on the market – such as 10% off each month’s rent while it’s on the market. But be sure to communicate expectations for cleanliness, such as keeping the dishes out of the sink and making the bed. Experts also suggest setting established hours for showing the property to make it easier on the tenant.”
Our recent island sale included first having the seller advise the tenant that the property was going to be sold. Then, I met with the renter to go through the property to find out any kinks, non-working items, and to inquire about their favorite points about the property. I also asked about them purchasing it. Then I worked out a cooperative agreement for when the property could be photographed for posting on the internet to ensure that prospective buyers and their Realtors® would “see” the inside before making showing appointments. The seller agreed to a small rent reduction during the period that the property would be on the market, while I offered to only make showing requests only for pre-qualified buyers and with 24 hours notice. It worked out well.
With seasonal rental property, particularly those with tenants here for only their short week-long annual vacation, the process is not always so smooth. Many rental organizations only permit showings during tenant-turnovers which sometimes can get tricky since that also may be the day that the prospective buyer is leaving town. Other organizations do not want showings when a unit is being cleaned. In “season” that can be that short window on a Saturday between a late morning check-out and a mid-afternoon check-in. Makes an island Realtor®’s job interesting.
With our listings, we always try to determine if a buyer is serious before even considering bothering a tenant. We query the requesting Realtor® with such questions as: Could they instead look on the next turn-over day? Have they seen the interior photos and streaming video? Have they been to the complex? Walked the grounds? Do they realize that it has (special or limiting features)? Do they need rental income? Then once we have determined that the request is valid, we do our darndest to get them in.
It may involve coordinating with a rental office if they require that they make all tenant contacts – or sweet-talking a tenant – and sometimes offering an incentive like a free meal so that they are compensated for their inconvenience. It too often is a delicate conversation to convince an otherwise uncooperative renter that they are helping you by allowing a viewing during their Sanibel vacation.
After 20 years of it, The SanibelSusan Team usually gets the AOK. Elise, our Listing Coordinator, is a pro at it. She is honest, gives the tenant the option of being there but suggests that they are not, asks showing agents to always leave their business card so the tenant knows the showing is over, and profusely thanks renters for their consideration. We know that happy tenants can bring us business!
Real Estate Activity This Week
Not much was announced yesterday at our Sanibel & Captiva Islands Realtor Caravan Meeting, mostly more price reductions. Not so surprising with all the activity reported the week before. One of the island rental managers told me today that their bookings for February and March are now up 40% where they were last year at this time. It sounds like we will have a busy couple of months coming up. The SanibelSusan Team is ready.
Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity January 20-27
4 new listings: Blind Pass #A105 2/2 $420K, Kimball Lodge #263 1/1.5 $547K, Pelican’s Roost 2/2 $699.8K, Compass Point #181 2/2 $1.187M.
3 price changes: Captains Walk #F7 2/1.5 now $228K, Sanibel Moorings #142 1/1 now $419K, Nutmeg Village #211 2/2 now $539K.
3 new sales: Ibis at The Sanctuary #301 2/2 listed for $399.9K, Nutmeg Village #310 2/2 listed for $549.9K, Wedgewood #102 3/3.5 listed for $2.295M.
2 closed sales: Spanish Cay #D6 2/2 $315K, Sanibel Arms West #I8 2/2 $427K.
4 new listings: 9106 Mockingbird Ln 2/2 $499K, 775 Limpet Dr 4/3 $1.849M, 505 Kinzie Island Ct 5/4.5 $2.295M, 5063 Joewood Dr 4/4.5 $3.395M.
3 price changes: 2130 Sunset Cir 3/2 now $539K, 237 Daniel Dr 3/2 now $550K, 1755 Jewel Box Dr 3/2 now $599K.
3 new sales: 555 Rabbit Rd 3/2 listed for $415K, 3940 Coquina Dr 3/2 listed for $475K, 731 Nerita St 3/2 listed for $529K.
4 closed sales: 9248 Belding Dr 3/2 $235K, 1133 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $442.5K, 947 Lindgren Blvd 3/2 $665K, 411 Lighthouse Way 4/3 $1.25M.
No new listings.
1 price change: 4077 Coquina Dr now $209K.
1 new sale: 4407 West Gulf Dr listed for $1.85M.
No closed sales.
No new listings.
2 price changes: Captiva Shores #6B 2/2 now $739.9K, Beach Homes #32 3/2.5 now $1.795M.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: Sunset Beach Villas #2224 2/2 $550K.
1 new listing: 11551 Paige 5/6.5 $4.998M.
1 price change: 15009 Binder Dr 4/5.5 now $3.749M.
1 new sale: 11522 Andy Rosse Ln 4/4 listed for $2.275M.
No closed sales.
1 new listing: 11517 Wightman Ln $719K.
No price changes, new or closed sales.
This representation is based in whole or in part on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market. The information provided represents the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions. If your property currently is listed with another broker, this is not intended as a solicitation of that listing.