Sunday, December 28, 2008

Season's Greetings, Foreclosures and Eagles on the Beach

Season’s Greetings,

National banks and mortgage companies have started selling their inventory of foreclosed properties and providing incredible opportunities for buyers. Sales volume has remained steady as bargain hunters purchase these and other properties that individual sellers have reduced to stay competitive with the foreclosure listings. At one time a few weeks ago, Port St. Joe Realty had 8 properties under contract. (All 8 are still on track to close or have already closed) I helped two sets of buyers this month purchase two of the best deals in the last five years. In my last newsletter, I talked about my #1 pick on . It was a large, 2nd tier, gulf view, newer, 4 BR/4BA, single family home w/ over 4000 total sq ft that the sellers purchased for $835K. I told everyone last month that the sellers thought their bank may take a very low offer. The buyers purchased this home that sold for $835K on 10/04/2005 for $350,000. It also came completely furnished and equipped.

These buyers are good friends of mine that I met while helping them purchase their first property here two years ago. They had been patiently waiting to purchase a 2nd property to place on the rental market. I knew what they were looking for and after they looked once at this house, they made an offer. As I have been saying about rental income potential, it is possible when marketed properly. Their rental company is projecting this home to gross $45,000 in rental income for 2009. (It grossed $35K this year and wasn’t placed on a rental program until April)

A misconception about this market is that the cost of property insurance is extremely high. It was higher in 2005, but has come down substantially. I would give Andy Smith at Hannon Insurance a call if your policy hasn’t come down (850-258-5128). The home above was insured for around $1500/year and the next home I’m going to tell you about was insured for under 900/year. Taxes are also way down due to assessed values coming down with the market.

The other home I sold this month had been foreclosed on earlier this year. It’s a very neat house built in 2005 that’s a short walk to the beach and it’s pictured below. This home had 3 offers made on it within 3 days of it hitting the market. The buyers I was working with ended up purchasing it for $244,000. There is not an abundance of deals with low asking prices on the market. When one is listed at a great price, it’s selling fast and usually getting multiple offers. Both of these homes had relatively quick closings and were both financed through Amber Lowery at Vision Bank. Amber did a wonderful job and had great rates (850-227-4492). Speaking of great rates, I’ve been emailed quotes this week as low as 4.5% for a 30 year fixed mortgage.

I have been working along with Steve Newman on listing a number of foreclosures. We listed a vacant lot on Cape San Blas for $99,000 that was purchased in 2005 for $380,000. It quickly received multiple offers and went under contract. We also listed a lot in Highland View for $24,999 that was purchased in 2005 for $205,000!!! The deals are coming and you need to be ready. I am doing the paperwork and pre-market analysis for a number of other foreclosures. Since they usually sell quickly, I need to know what you are looking for if you want me to contact you when they are listed.

Another Great Deal that recently closed is the Gulf front home below that had an asking price of $800,000. It ended up selling for $520,000. It’s was built in 1980 and needs some work/updating. However, it’s the first Gulf Front home in this area on MLS to close under $800,000 in at least 4 years. Two Gulf front homes both listed at $1,500,000 went under contract as I was writing this. It will be interesting to see what these 2 homes rumored to be going into foreclosure end up selling for.

With the number of foreclosures in the pipeline to hit the market, there are going to continue to be tremendous values for buyers. The best new deal on the market is a great beach house that sits right across the street from the beach in St. Joe Beach. Vacant lots similar to the one this house sits on sold for over $600,000. It is now listed for $329,000. There are two foreclosure homes that I think someone may get a very good deal on. One is a home in phase 1 of Windmark Beach that was purchased for $1,400,000. It’s now on the market at $559,000. For comparison to other properties in Windmark Beach, it’s the only home listed under $1,000,000. The second home is located across from the dedicated beach in Mexico Beach. The previous buyers paid $1,100,000 and now it is on the market for $649,000. Both of these are owned by National banks that are motivated to sell. I am very curious to see what the banks would actually take for them. There is also a great lot in the Casuna Subdivision on the market for $59,000. Possibly the best long term investment is the 3 acres of commercial land available in Mexico Beach for $449,000. (An identical piece sold for $1,600,000 in 2006)

Best Deals in Port St. Joe
Best Deals on Homes in Indian Pass and Cape San Blas
Best Deals on Vacant lots in Indian Pass and Cape San Blas

Below are the sales that have taken place in the last 90 days as well as the properties that are currently under contract.

Mexico Beach 30:
Cape San Blas 21:
Port St. Joe 9:
North Gulf County 12:
St. George Island 26:
Apalachicola 10:
Carrabelle: 16:

I will be sending out a thorough analysis recapping the market in 2008 and giving my projection for 2009 in the coming weeks.

Occasionally I’ve been taking a small camera with me while I jog in the morning. I was lucky enough to have my camera the morning this bald eagle was out cruising the beach

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