New home buyers want energy efficiency

New home buyers want energy efficiency  and according to a new survey from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), builders are listening.   It appears that energy efficient features and closet space were more important to new home buyers than two-story foyers, outdoor kitchens and whirlpools.

 The NAHB  asked builders which features they were most likely to include or not include in newly built 2015 homes. Here are the results.

Least likely features included

  • Outdoor kitchens
  • Laminate countertops in kitchens
  • Outdoor fireplaces
  • Sunrooms
  • Two-story foyers
  • Walking/Jogging trails
  • Whirlpools
  • Carpeting as flooring on main levels

Most likely features included

  • Walk-in closets in master bedrooms
  • Laundry rooms
  • Low-e windows
  • Guest rooms
  • Energy-star rated windows
  • Programmable thermostats
  • Two-car garages
  • Granite countertops in kitchens

I must admit to being a little sad to see that whirlpools didn’t make the cut, but the energy efficient features are a perfect fit for Florida’s year round sunshiny weather. Besides, with the most beautiful gulf beaches just minutes away, who needs a whirlpool?

New home buyers want energy efficiency, but we would love to know what features our readers would consider important and which would you just assume leave out?

Visit us on Facebook and share your comments.





New Florida foreclosures up for first time in 17 months

IRVINE, Calif. – Sept. 11, 2014 – Newly filed foreclosures jumped 24 percent in Florida last month compared to a year earlier, a spike that marked the first annual increase since early 2013 and led to speculation about whether a long-predicted flood of home repossessions had arrived.

According to a report from the company RealtyTrac, which measures foreclosure filings nationwide, 6,468 Florida homes fell into foreclosure in August, which was a 74 percent increase from the previous month.

The rise in new cases kept Florida in the top spot on a nationwide foreclosure ranking, a place it’s held for 11 consecutive months.

RealtyTrac analysts and foreclosure defense attorneys had different ideas on what caused the increase in new filings, but agreed it was likely a combination of factors;

• Banks catching up on a 2013 state law that requires them to have specific paperwork before filing a foreclosure.
• A faster court system giving lenders more confidence to pursue a foreclosure.
• The sunset of a federal tax break on short sales.

Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac, said he links Florida’s increase in new filings to the so-called “fast track” foreclosure law that went into effect July 1, 2013.

The law gives lien holders a way to more quickly process a foreclosure through the courts in certain situations.

But it also requires lenders to have specific documents at the time the foreclosure is filed, including proof of loan ownership, such as the original note, and that they are the correct party to foreclose. If a note is considered lost, affidavits filed under the penalty of perjury are required to attest to the veracity of the foreclosure.

In August 2013, the month after the law went into effect, new foreclosures in Florida dropped 43 percent compared to the previous month and have stayed low since.

“We believe that drop was artificially caused by the law, specifically the requirement that forces servicers to file a lost note affidavit before starting foreclosure if they have lost the note,” Blomquist said. “The August numbers are an early indicator that servicers are finally starting to adjust to that new requirement, and we would expect to see more increases in foreclosure starts in the coming months.”

RealtyTrac measures three types of foreclosure filings – the initial notice, notice of sale and final judgment.

One in every 400 Florida homes had a foreclosure filing in August. In Nevada, which ranked second nationally, one in every 524 homes had a foreclosure filing. Maryland came in third at one in every 532 homes with a foreclosure filing.

“We’ve been talking about a second binge coming through,” said South Florida foreclosure defense attorney Roy Oppenheim about new foreclosure filings. “We’ve tried to anticipate it.”

But Oppenheim believes the bulk of the new cases are homeowners choosing foreclosure over doing a short sale after the Jan. 1 expiration of the Mortgage Debt Relief Act. The act allowed borrowers to exempt forgiven mortgage debt from counting as income.

Without the tax exemption, a homeowner forgiven $150,000 in debt could end up owing the IRS $42,000 in taxes, depending on the tax bracket.  The industry group Florida Realtors is hopeful Congress will pass the tax break after the November elections and make it retroactive to Jan. 1.  A homeowner may owe an unpaid loan balance to a bank after a foreclosure, but lenders only have one year to file to collect that debt.

“When the government chose not to renew the exemption, there were unintended consequences,” Oppenheim said.

Copyright © 2014 The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Fla.), Kimberly Miller. Distributed by MCT Information Services. 

3 Tampa Bay Beaches Make Trip Advisor Top 25!

Water's Edge BeachTampa Bay Beaches are always on the favorite lists but this time Trip Advisor has added St. Pete Beach (#9), Caladesie Island State Park (#11), and Clearwater Beach (#21) to its 2014 Top 25 Beaches in the USA!

We pride ourselves about these pristine beaches that draw thousands of visitors to the area each year… sparkling white sand, azure sea, cool breezes – not to mention spectacular sunsets every night!  Congratulations Tampa Bay Beaches!!! No wonder sales are heating up!

Property Appraisals Coming Up Short As Tampa Market Heats Up

Real estate sales in key Florida markets have risen as much as 10 percent in the last six months, which is more than they usually increase during an entire year when the market has been stable.  Appraisals are based on previous sales, which is causing a problem in this fast changing market.  With appraisals sometimes coming up significantly lower than a seller’s asking price, this has caused many deals to fall through and home sales to stop at times.

The problems are arising from appraisers using foreclosures and “short sales” as comparable homes in their valuations and when they are failing to take into account market conditions such as low inventory and bidding wars in many areas.  Savvy appraisers no longer include distressed sales in their comps but occasionally we get an appraiser who allows them.  In addition, many banks have increased their requirements to six comparable sales versus a previous requirement of only three, making the appraiser scramble for those extra comps.

Some appraisers are asserting that if the market is riddled with foreclosures then that is what is going to set the market.  They feel that they are simply following the rule of thumb of evaluating what the majority of the sales are in a particular market.  Therefore, if the majority of sales are foreclosures, that is what is going to be used for comparables in that market.  As realtors, we find it very important during an appraisal to be certain the appraiser is taking the market condition into account. For example, The Purtee Team  just sold a listing in a complex higher than any recent sales there.  The buyer put an appraisal contingency as part of the contract.  We went to the appraisal and showed that there were now limited listings available in this highly desirable community and that there were no active distressed sales left.  He was able to go outside the community to justify the contract price.

With some appraisals coming in at 10 to 20 percent lower than an accepted offer sellers are hesitant to put their homes on the market or they are particularly open to cash offers that require no appraisal.  Even buyers are skeptical wanting to be sure they got the best deal for the property they are purchasing.  However, there are some actions that can be taken to combat a low appraisal.  A seller can work with their agent to:

  1. Conduct research to back up your case for why the price was set for the property.  Be sure this information is available for an appraiser to consider in his report.
  2. Request a new appraisal.  There is a rebuttal system in order to challenge the information used in the appraiser’s report.
  3. Get an independent appraisal.

 In today’s market, our recommendation is to be sure the appraisal is done early in case you have to fall back on any of the above actions.  Just as when the market was in a downturn… appraisers have a difficult job.  As realtors, it is important to be right there on the front line to support the contract price where necessary.

For more information:

Forget ‘improving’ or ‘rebound’ – ‘Florida market is on fire’

Forget ‘improving’ or ‘rebound’ – ‘Florida market is on fire’ Florida Pool

Daily we receive articles of interest from Florida Realtors® and this one certainly caught our attention.

Lesley Deutch, senior vice president at John Burns Real Estate Consulting, said the “Florida market is on fire” in her latest update on the state’s housing market after having traveled the state of Florida recently and visited more than 20 communities. While recovery reports differ between Florida cities and urban areas, she reports five major trends:

1. Land prices. While the price of land continues to rise quickly statewide, Orlando feels the most pressure. Deutch says she saw some submarkets where “land and finished lot prices have now surpassed peak levels.” In Orlando, she sees developers buying raw land “just to gain a position and market share.”

2. Home prices. Some communities, such as Orlando and Naples, are seeing 1- to 2-percent new-home price increases monthly, Deutch says. The hallmarks of a seller’s market have also returned, such as lotteries. She expects a 2013 price increase of at least 10 percent in many Florida markets.

3. 55-plus market. Deutch reports a 20- to 25-percent jump in potential buyers interested in active adult living, according to builders in Southwest Florida. She also notes a boost in customer traffic in second- and third-tier markets.

4. Foreign buyers. It’s more than Miami, Deutch says. While in Orlando, she visited a sales office that had three active buyers: One from Brazil, one from Germany and one from China.

5. Foreclosures. While the state has a notoriously long foreclosure process, Deutch says banks are slowly releasing foreclosures. But investors continue to buy new foreclosures shortly after they hit the market.

Most of these 5 issues have been covered by The PURTEE Team in recent blogs.  I was just having a conversation yesterday with a builder who was complaining about land prices being too high.  It reminds me of conversations I had in late 2011 with buyers of beach property.  Those buyers listened to media doldrums even as we realtors saw the turn in the market.  Many sat on the sideline and missed golden opportunities to own premium real estate at a fraction of their former value!  She is right about the foreclosures, too. We see them gobbled up quickly as they hit the market.

There is an appetite out there for Florida property and it is even stronger with the relentless snow and cold weather the northern states have suffered this early spring… as we have enjoyed beautiful temperate climates.  Do you agree the Florida market is on fire? You should!  Use a professional to help you understand a good value in today’s market here in Tampa Bay. Contact us today.

What Do January Market Statistics Say? When Do I Buy???

The January Market Statistics for Pinellas County

are out and the full report is posted on our website. There are SO MANY people sitting on the sidelines reluctant to make a purchase. The media continues to be negative and buyers anxious to own property in Tampa Bay, whether as a second home or as a relocation, simply do not know whether to take the plunge.
With so many baby boomers nearing retirement… and the country experiencing one of the most brutal winter seasons this year… Florida has a lot of people anxious to not miss out on living the Florida lifestyle! Prices have reached unprecedented lows and over the last several months we have seen the results. We have targeted HOT DEALS for our clients and email them out within a day or so of them going on the market. It is amazing how many of these are under contract before the week is out! That is telling us something. The pent up demand is staggering. When you realize that in 2004 and 2005 over 1000 people were moving to Florida a day, once the pendulum does swing, it will be HUGE!
We keep a close eye on this chart and the Absorption Rate*… looking for trend lines. Look at the latter half of 2009 into 2010. There was a great deal of positive momentum! So what changed in June of 2010??? How about the understanding of how serious the BP oil spill in the gulf was? It took through the rest of the summer and beyond to cap the flow and throughout the world, people looked on in horror that beautiful Florida was now tarnished. It didn’t matter that not one drop of oil reached our area. It was the PERCEPTION.
Our prediction is that it will unfold just like that. When the PERCEPTION changes (and the media says now is the time), there will be a feeding frenzy. There are a LOT of sellers out there not willing to sell at these current prices. Once this distressed inventory runs out, we will go to the owners willing to sacrifice what they have in their property. From there, we have those who won’t. THESE DISTRESSED SALES RIGHT NOW ARE WHERE THE OPPORTUNITIES ARE!!!
Our recommendation… contact The PURTEE Team and get on the radar. What you are seeking may come on the market and be gone without you ever knowing about it.
*Absorption (Inventory Turnover) is determined by dividing the number of units sold during the month by the total number of listings in the MLS (Multiple Listing Service)

What To Look For In Finding Your 2nd Home!

The PURTEE Team specializes in finding second homes for out of state or international buyers. From the original inquiry, a buyer is connected with one of us to assist in a full understanding of the marketplace, the challenges of buying distressed properties… and what to look for as a part time resident.

* First, we discuss how they are going to maintain the property. With a private home there is a great deal to consider with maintenance, yard and security. For that reason, many decide a condo offers a better solution… with landscaping, building insurance and exterior maintenance included in the homeowner’s fee. Often times, with storm shutters, the condo can be secured and left highly protected during times the owner is not in residence.

* Secondly, we update our buyers about age. This is an important conversation to bring the buyer up to speed on how to understand the factors that are most important. it is also a critical piece as to why working with a realtor knowledgeable about the area is so important!

The building codes in Florida dramatically changed in 2004. At that point, frame construction was replace by solid block construction. The latest code heavier sliding glass doors with high water threshold frames combined with the new suspension cable support system between floors… and so many other key details in order to keep the newer building more secure in the possibility of a strong storm.

Therefore complexes that were completed in 2005, 2006, and 2007 reflect those changes. When the market fell off in the latter part of 2007, new construction trickled to a halt and very little new has come on the market. So we counsel our buyers to think of new as 2005-2007.

In the 1970’s and 80’s builders often used the solid block construction so many of those older builders are very solid in nature. Where they fall short is in the lack of high wind rated glass windows and sliding doors. For the most part, that has been aided by the use of newer storm shutters added to the outside of the glass for additional support and security. Some of the older buildings (like Seamark in St Pete Beach) have opted to bring the entire building up to code with its windows.

When the decision is made to purchase a beach residence… whether as a place to get away from a grueling winter, or simply as a place to kick off your shoes and feel the sand between your toes while watching dolphins swim along the coastline… there are things to consider. As your realtor of choice we are right here throughout the process – even after you return home. For that reason, we have many buyers (who have become owners) who know they can count on us when necessary.

Our website is filled with information to start on the journey to discover what it is like to “Live the Florida Lifestyle”.